An Ohio family is heartbroken after vandals spray-painted a derogatory word on their home — a word beginning with “R” that is used to refer to people with certain disabilities. The family says the slur was directed toward their teen son, who has muscular dystrophy, KDKA (Pittsburgh) is reporting.
Jayden Clark of West Jefferson, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, has muscular dystrophy, which is a muscular disease that has nothing to do with his brain. Although he can’t speak, he can read, hear, and understand. More to the point, he can understand what the R-word means. So you can imagine the shock and anger that his dad, Steve Clark, felt on Saturday morning when he saw that word scrawled in red spray paint across his garage.
“It hurts a lot. It makes you cry.”
As Clark points out, the vandals were attempting to send a message to his son, who has his full mental capacities.
“This angers us. This has nothing to do with his mindset. He’s a smart boy. He has no problem understanding anything. He knows what that word means and he knows how mean it is.”
— NBC4 Columbus (@nbc4i) September 25, 2016
Fortunately for Jayden, he has more friends than he even knew about. Word of the vandalism at his home began to spread around the community, according to WBNS (Columbus). The news eventually reached Carlos Garcias, a member of the Columbus Riders, a motorcycle club. Garcias went on Facebook and called his friends to action. Later that afternoon, a few dozen bikers showed up to express their love and support to the teen.
Columbus Riders surround child who suffers muscular dystrophy with support after graffiti & the r-word sprayed on West Jefferson home. pic.twitter.com/yqSdosHCSz
— Laura Borchers (@LauraBorchers1) September 25, 2016
One of the bikers gave a short speech, while others let the teen rev their motorcycle engines. Garcias said that he and his bike-rider buddies did it to show Jayden that he has support.
“We did this for Jayden. He has a better way to get around than anyone else — which is a wheelchair. We want him to know he can go up and succeed in life; not slow down because someone who thinks he’s different put him down.”
Steve Clark said the bikers set an example for Jayden about the good in the world.
“They showed him there’s good people in the world. Not everyone’s like this.”
This is not the first time a group of bikers has shown up to save the day for a kid who needed a little extra support. Just a little over a week ago, in fact, Inside Edition reported on the story of Pennsylvania boy with Down Syndrome who got support from bikers after his parents expressed concern about bullying.
Sixteen-year-old Sean Maehrer had been bullied at school for his disability in the past. With the 2016-2017 school year approaching, his family was worried it would happen again. In a Facebook post, a family member expressed concern about Sean being bullied on his first day of school and setting a bad tone for the rest of the school year.
As it turned out, Sean and his family had nothing to fear. When a local motorcycle club heard about Sean, they showed up to make sure his first day of school would be one he’d never forget. Wearing a helmet and leathers, Sean rode to school on the back of a motorcycle, with about a dozen new friends riding beside him. At the school, there were about a hundred more. Sean walked into school that day a hero, high-fiving his new friends and sending a message to the bullies that his friends have got his back.
Back in Ohio, Steve Clark is asking his neighbors to help him figure out who vandalized his home. Believing it’s juveniles, he told his neighbors to check for missing spray paint and to come to him if they think it was their son or daughter who did the vandalism.
[Feature Image by dimbar76/Shutterstock]