Josh Yandt was tormented and bullied at school until he started opening doors and letting people in. After his father died, he was bullied more intensely. He had hung photos of his dad, who had passed away, in his locker. Other students bullied him by tearing the photos of his father down. According to News OK, Josh, having been bullied so severely by other kids, “withdrew socially, and even if people tried to include him, he felt like an outsider.”
Josh’s inspirational story of opening doors was featured in a YouTube video by WestJet in December, but lately, his story of opening doors has gone viral.
Concerned about her son, Josh’s mom took a leap and moved to a big city in order to give her bullied son a fresh start. That’s where the bullied teen’s empowerment starts.
“I was sick and tired of being a no one. I wanted to be someone. And I wanted to reach out to people and show who I was. Being nice should be the norm. It’s not something I expected to stand out.”
Josh wanted people to know him for something, and so he began literally opening doors at his new high school. He just started opening and holding doors inside the school open for his schoolmates. That simple act changed his life, as WestJet explains.
“Opening a door is more than a physical act. It’s about putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, and making them feel welcome. After being bullied, Josh decided to make a change that ultimately had a dramatic impact on his life and on the lives of his fellow students.”
The kids in the school nicknamed him “the door man,” and though they initially thought the act of opening doors for other kids was peculiar, the kids say they started looking forward to it. For Josh, it was a way of opening up to others and climbing out of his isolation he created for himself after being bullied so aggressively.
“The first few weeks when I started doing it, they were kind of shocked. Not many people hold doors, right? But after that, people started to open up to me. Opening a door is more than a physical act. It’s like putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, making them feel welcome. Opening doors — it gives people hope that people care.”
Opening doors at his school inspired others to start helping people out, according to the Little Things. In that article featuring the previously bullied teen, the author warns readers that Josh’s story is a tear-jerker.
Josh only wanted to open himself up and be a part of the life he was walking around in, but his small acts of kindness and hope eventually won him the title of prom king. His peers signed an actual door and presented it to him as a thank you for the impact he had on their lives. His mother explained that eventually, to her own astonishment, her once shy son, after being bullied for years, went on to become a public speaker and an inspiration to students all over, and is now opening doors for others in a different way.