North Texas

‘It's About Making the Kid a Rock Star'; North Texas Bikers Help Bullied Arlington Sixth-Grader

Garret Bear was a bit confused Monday morning when his dad got him into the car earlier than normal and told him to pull his beanie down over his eyes.

But it made things that much sweeter when they reached their final destination.

"I was surprised," said Garret, a sixth-grader from Arlington.

They pulled into the parking lot of the Longhorn Harley Davidson dealership in Grand Prairie, where about two dozen bikers from across North Texas were waiting for them -- ready to give him an unforgettable morning.

"When we first pulled up, it was heartwarming," said Ashlee Garner, Garret's mom. "These people care, even though they didn't know us from anything ... it means a lot."

Garret's parents said he regularly gets picked on by kids at school. It got to the point that they went to school administrators. But the bullying hasn't stopped.

"The school has done what they can," said James McIntosh, Garret's father. "We don't blame the school. It's not their fault. It's not the kids' fault. It starts at home. If the parents don't take an interest, they don't have a clue what their kid is doing to other kids outside the home."

Wanting to try something else, McIntosh got in touch with the team at Longhorn Harley Davidson after a friend connected him with some of the staff there.

They'd worked with a biker named Ken "Shiner" Harrison, who oversees a network that they thought could be uniquely suited to help Garret. It's called "Bikers Against Bullying."

"It's about making the kid a rock star," said Harrison.

Concerned about the number of young people killing themselves over bullying, Harrison saw an opportunity to do something about it.

So when "Bikers Against Bullying" is contacted about a kid, he rallies bikers from across North Texas -- and together, they escort the kid to school in a display of strength and support.

They were more than eager to come to Garret's aid.

"We just want to help and make sure that bullying does not become a bigger epidemic than it is," said Rico Rossi, an employee at Longhorn Harley Davidson, who also took part in Monday's ride.

After spending some time hanging out with Garret and his family, they geared him up, put him on the back of a motorcycle, and rolled out for his school.

"Garret is going to feel like he's on cloud nine," said Harrison. "He's gonna walk in with his chest high, pumped, ready for the day. Other kids are gonna say wow, I wish it was my riding those bikes. And then they're gonna say, wow -- he must be a really cool kid."

His assessment was accurate.

"It was really cool," said Garret.

But even more than that, they hope Garret -- and the kids who bully him -- now realize a lot of people have his back.

"I really, really hope this gets through to them that bullying is not OK," said McIntosh.

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