Teenager who was dreading bullies at her school prom shows up with 120 bikers
As kids, one of the worst experiences we can go through is being bullied. It's demeaning, degrading, and - in the worst cases - can have a serious effect on a person's long-term health and well-being. Unfortunately, it happens all too often.
Chloe Robson, a 16-year-old girl from County Durham in the UK, has been tormented by her peers since she was just seven years old and says the experience has made her feel "worthless" for most of her life. So, when it came time for her to attend her end of year prom, she was worried that the other kids would somehow find a way to ruin the evening for her.
Thankfully, her uncle, 42-year-old Grant Robson, had an idea for how to deter the other kids from giving Chloe any trouble.
Grant, a photographer, runs a support group for kids who are picked on called Bikers Against Bullies. The concept of the group is simple: the bikers use their tough, no-nonsense image to spread an anti-bullying message, and show solidarity with children and young people who suffer abuse on a regular basis.
In Chloe's case, that meant showing up as a 120-strong gang in order to escort her to prom.
Speaking about the motorbike escort, the teenager said, "I was really nervous about going to the prom and the reaction I'd get."
However, she went on to say that having the assistance of the group really helped her with her worries. In fact, the bikers' presence didn't just dispel the bullies - it attracted a lot of attention from others who wanted to show Chloe their love and support.
"It was a big shock when we heard the engines and all the bikers turned up - I wasn't expecting that many but it made me feel supported and confident," she said.
"They were surrounding the car all the way there and then escorted me to the school then there was applause from teachers and the families of other students.
"It was an indescribable moment - my friends all ran up and said 'wow, that was an entrance.'"
After almost a decade of suffering, the teen was truly grateful. However, she knows that there's no easy fix to the years of torture she has faced.
"The bullying had a bad effect - it made me feel left out and alone," she said. "I had no-one to talk to about it and worried if I said anything it would get around - it will have a long-term effect on me."
Still, Grant is hopeful that his group can provide emotional and physical support for other children - and even some adults - in similar situations.
"Many of the members of the group have experienced bullying either at school or at work," he said.
"I was bullied at school but when I was at school you just got a bit beat up but these days you have social media - the biggest bully in the world is Facebook."
Now that she's seen the effect the Bikers Against Bullies group can have, though, Chloe herself has joined forces with her uncle in order to help promote and spread a message of positivity, and hopefully help to stamp out instances of bullying wherever they may occur.