Michael Conrad had gotten up the nerve to invite a cheerleader to homecoming … just like the bullies had planned it.
Hoco w the coolest guy out there! Thank you to everyone who made this a reality ❤️ pic.twitter.com/nbj2rsYiac
— Dexonna Talbot (@DexonnaTalbot) September 23, 2018
As Fox 13 reports, Michael is a junior at a Taylorsville, Utah, high school in Utah. The teen has ADHD and autism, which has made him a target of bullying from some classmates. Michael told KSL that he’s aware of the mockery but doesn’t let it affect him:
“They think that we are dumb, we’re weak, we’re not smart. I’m here to prove them wrong.”
This year, Michael’s home was egged shortly after Labor Day. Whoever planned the prank also left a note behind for Michael that read, “I’m sorry for the mess. But how about I make it up to you by taking you to Homecoming?”
Michael’s mother, Jennifer Conrad, told Fox 13 that whoever left the note knew what they were doing:
“It had his friend’s name on it that he knows very well. And somebody had kissed the paper.”
Emboldened by the invitation in the note, Michael went to school and told the girl who signed it that he’d love to go to homecoming with her. Unfortunately, she hadn’t written the note, didn’t know about the prank, and already had a date.
Though Michael tried to act like the incident didn’t bother him, word of the prank spread quickly. Jenn Palomino, one of Michael’s teachers, told KSL:
“I just thought it was a terrible incident. I didn’t know that I could do anything to turn it around, to be honest.”
Palomino reached out to a friend with Michael’s story, and that friend contacted Dexonna Talbot. Talbot is currently Miss Greater Salt Lake and will soon be competing for the title of Miss Utah. Talbot told KSL that when she heard Michael’s story, she knew she wanted to help:
“The second I heard about this, I knew I wanted to do something. I automatically broke down into tears, because just thinking about the fact that someone would go out of their way to make someone else feel bad is so heartbreaking to me.”
The beauty queen contacted Michael’s mom and teachers. With their help, she arranged her own surprise proposal. Talbot came to Michael’s school, walked into his class, and asked him to the homecoming dance. An excited Michael gratefully accepted.
One of my students was recently the target of a bullying incident where some kids decided to make up a fake homecoming proposal. Well jokes on them because today Miss Greater Salt Lake came and asked HIM to homecoming. Bullying is lame and kindness always wins. pic.twitter.com/wgWBPAKEcC
— Taylorsville Debate (@tvilledebate) September 18, 2018
The pair arranged a special date — including a trip to the arcade, dinner, and the dance. A local business even donated a limo for the evening.
Jennifer told Fox 13 she has no doubt that Talbot’s invitation is a true act of kindness:
“This wasn’t a publicity stunt of any kind for her. She’s just got a tender heart. And she has really made my son’s year.”
Talbot is a student at the University of Utah and is pursuing a master’s degree in special education. She says she was inspired by a Mahatma Gandhi quote about changing the world as well as by her experiences helping an uncle with special needs.
As she told the Deseret News:
“I wanted to do this simple act of service to impact the world positively, and ultimately just a really fun, nice, kind boy the homecoming experience he deserves!”