Chris Kuykendall is a high school football star at Hobbs High School is New Mexico. But he wasn’t always the most popular student at school. When Chris was younger, he was a victim of bullying. Older kids and his peers routinely targeted him, and the experience left a profound scar on his life.
When Chris heard a five-year-old getting bullied in school, he immediately had flashbacks to his childhood. He knew the pain and sorrow he felt as a victim of bullying, and he vowed to make a difference in this young boy’s life.
The five-year-old that Chris was trying to help was bullied so much that he would throw up every morning before school. He was nervous about what was going to happen, and his anxiety got the best of him.
Chris says, “It just hit home. I remembered how I felt when I was getting bullied. It just fired me up. I wanted to change that right then and there. I didn’t want him to go another day, wake up another day, feeling like he didn’t need to go to school.”
Using his newfound popularity as a football player, Chris invited the five-year-old boy to have lunch with him at school. All the bullies immediately saw the boy hanging out with an older, stronger football player, and they immediately stopped their bullying. The five-year-old soon earned the respect and confidence to make it through his day with a smile on his face.
Chris’s friend on the football friend, Brevin, saw the impact Chris was making, and he joined the cause. Together, the duo started Eagle Buddies, an organization that pairs athletes with children who are victims of bullying.