A man from Charlotte, North Carolina recently took a stand for his 10-year-old cousin, and his story is going viral. David Pendragon took to Facebook on April 2 to share that his cousin's son, Ryker, had been teased for bringing a colorful lunch box to school. So, in an act of solidarity, Pendragon opted to bring the very same lunch box with him—to his "corporate, conservative" work place.
"My cousin, Emily, has a 10 year old son named Ryker," Pendragon explained in his post. "Ryker, who loves cats, was very excited to get his new lunchbox. Unfortunately because of its colors, or because it has cats, or both he was teased about it by other boys in his class. He even wanted to stop taking his lunch so he wouldn't be teased about it any longer."
Pendragon goes on to explain that Ryker's upsetting experience inspired him to take action. "I have decided, however, to stand with my little cousin and show him that a man can love whatever he wants and not be afraid to express that love," he wrote. "So I have ordered the same lunchbox for myself and proudly carried it to work today at my large, conservative, corporate workplace."
He went on to share that anytime he has been asked about the lunch box and explained the story, his coworkers have said "they all stand with Ryker too." The bottom-line for Pendragon, "There's no one way to be a man. Men can be colorful. Men can be expressive. Men can be emotional and silly and gleeful. I love my new lunchbox, and I hope Ryker and all the other boys out there can see that their passion and self-expression is never something to be ashamed of."
What an awesome, important message!
It's obviously not just Pendragon's coworkers who have been inspired by the story. Pendragon's Facebook post has racked up over 32K shares and a plethora of comments. One mom wrote, "My 13 yr old son would love this ? he has a shirt that's very similar I think the cats are even high fiving. Sharing so he can see. I'm proud of the individuality of these kids who can see past social constructs." Another shared, "Please! Let's allow and encourage our children to express themselves in healthy ways, so they aren't stifled and shamed to the point of expressing themselves with weapons!"
Turns out the lunch box is popular among some other adults too! One commenter shared, "I have the same one!!! I’m a 30 yr old Vet tech and I literally get compliments on it allll the time! Best bday gift I ever got haha!!"
Props to David Pendragon for taking this stand on behalf of Ryker! With hope, his message inspires other parents and loved ones to relay the same, empowering message to kids. After all, whether we're talking about a child's favorite toy, outfit, or lunch box, gender should be completely beside the point.