You’ve heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child. In this case, it took a community to pull off a big surprise for a 16-year-old Michigan student with autism.
It all started with Julian Martinez’s best friend, Korey Bradshaw.
“Someone told him retards can’t go to prom and so like that completely brought him down, like, I’m never gonna get to go to prom and someone told him a retard can’t get a date,” Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw wanted to ask Martinez to prom.
With a little help, she connected with Ricki Strasser from Wicked Jeeps West. Strasser said her heart broke when she learned about the bullying Martinez had experienced.
“They broke his phone, they’ve punched him in his stomach, they’ve called him horrible names and said – they’ve told him to commit suicide. You know, things like that. It’s not OK to do that to anybody,” Strasser said.
Sunday afternoon a caravan of Jeeps from Wicked Jeeps West rolled through the Kalamazoo area, setting up shop at Monro Muffler Brake and Service on Riverview Drive in Kalamazoo.
The Jeeps served as a prop for one very important question: Will you go to prom?
“Everyone seems to try to single him out due to his disability and, like, we all try to avoid the fact that he has this disability because he’s still his own person,” Bradshaw said.
Several companies stepped in to offer up a corsage and boutineer, hair, and a special suit for Martinez.
The event, from start to finish, put a big smile on his face.