A 10-year-old boy who was bullied for his "Iron Man" costume is now going viral for his superhero strength.
Last week, Jill Struckman proudly shared Facebook photos of her son Evan dressed up as Tony Stark for a Halloween party at his Missouri school. In the photos, the fifth-grader is sporting oversized glasses, a snazzy suit and a goatee, just like Robert Downey Jr. does in the films.
“Evan loves getting dressed up — and he was especially excited that day,” Jill told TODAY Parents. “It was hard to get his makeup on straight because he was smiling so much.”
But about 20 minutes later, Jill received a call from the school office, explaining that Evan had been teased on the school bus.
“They said, ‘We have Evan here and he’s really, really upset,” Jill recalled. “My heart just dropped.”
After talking to a crying Evan on the phone, she decided to go pick him up. He had washed off his Tony Stark makeup, which he kept apologizing for in the car.
“He kept saying, ‘we worked so hard on it,’” Jill said. “He was really thinking about how I would feel, which tells you a lot about him.”
Over frappuccinos with his mom, Evan revealed that some kids told him that he looked stupid and everyone was going to make fun of him. Evan, who had practically sprinted to the bus that morning, was feeling embarrassed and defeated.
Jill asked him if he wanted to go back to school for the Halloween party. He nodded.
“He was a little scared walking back into school,” Jill said. “But he had a great rest of the day. And he was so proud of himself. It was absolutely a defining moment in his life. If he hadn’t gone back, it would have broken his spirit.”
Jill’s posts about what happened to Evan have been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook. Evan now has fans all over the world. Jill said she can barely keep up with her inbox.
“Thanks for all the sweet words (and offers to beat up 10-year-olds) lol,” she wrote in one update. “I do appreciate you all.”