By Suria Mehta, Age 11

As I was eating my bean and cheese burrito during lunch time, Sam, my 5th grade classmate, asked me why I never bring meat to lunch. I told him that I am a vegetarian and I didn’t eat meat. He was shocked, speechless, and couldn’t comprehend what that meant.

Next, he pointed his finger on his left temple and made it into a gun shape. He said that he would shoot himself if he was a vegetarian because he could not live without meat. Sam kept saying that I wasn’t physically strong enough, I didn’t have enough muscles, I wasn’t healthy, and I didn’t eat any kind of protein at all. He wouldn’t stop picking on me as this was the 3rd time at lunch that he came over and made these strong embarrassing remarks. Honestly, I was upset, devastated and crushed because Sam was making fun of me, my religion and my food choices.

Enough was enough. I took matters into my own hands and told my English teacher right away. I made it clear to my teacher, Ms. Smith, that I didn’t appreciate what Sam had said to me; all those horrible things about being a vegetarian. Ms. Smith spoke to Sam and was appalled by his behavior. Ms. Smith wanted to know why Sam reacted this way. Of course, Sam had no real reason why he chose to make fun of me.  Ms. Smith made it clear and spoke about kindness, respect, and loyalty among the fellow classmates. Sam was embarrassed and disappointed in himself; he realized he made a wrong choice. Sam decided to go the right thing and apologize to me. He wrote me a kind letter of how sorry he felt for teasing me. I felt as if Sam understood how he hurt me and fixed the issue.

Bullying is hurtful in any form. On the other hand, kindness brings joy, warmth, and happiness, like a mouth watering, hot fudge sundae! Getting over the feeling of sadness is tough and learning to forgive the mistakes is harder. You have to move on in life and look at the bright and happy sides of things, as this makes you a stronger person.