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bullying, halloween, parenting

Evan was so excited to go to his school's Halloween party as Tony Stark.

It can be hard for anyone to bounce back after being ridiculed, but especially a kid who is just figuring out how to make their way in this wacky world. Bullies only succeed when we change our behavior because of them, so it's important that we don't let jerky behavior keep us down and destroy our joy.

Ten-year-old Evan learned that lesson firsthand last week.

It all started with Evan preparing for his school Halloween party by getting decked out in a sweet Tony Stark costume, complete with facial hair makeup, glasses and pomaded hair. His mom, Jill Struckman, shared photos of him in his costume on Facebook.

True to Tony Stark style, Evan wanted to be driven to school in the family's Mercedes, but his mom wasn't able to take him so he had to take the school bus.


"He was over the top excited about his costume…" Struckman wrote in another post. "He couldn't stop smiling when he left home."

Unfortunately, that excitement was ruined by some kids on the school bus who told him he looked stupid.

"Evan got to school and immediately went to the bathroom and washed his face," Struckman wrote. "When he called he was crying and sooo hurt that he didn't even want to stay for his party."

"Kids need to understand that WORDS hurt," she added.

After she got the call from the school, Struckman picked Evan up and took him out for a treat and a talk. She told TODAY Parents that Evan kept apologizing for washing his makeup off. "He kept saying, 'we worked so hard on it,'" she said. "He was really thinking about how I would feel, which tells you a lot about him."

Sometimes a little TLC from mom and a little space from the situation (and a little Starbucks as well) is enough to help a person rally, though.

"After going to Starbucks and talking through his feelings, Evan decided he didn't want to miss his school party!!! So we went home and redid his AWESOME makeup and marched right back into school!"

"He was a little scared walking back into school," Struckman told TODAY. "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."

Struckman shared in another post that Evan is a kid who usually enjoys standing out. "This boy has swagger and usually doesn't let things that people say get to him," she wrote. "I don't want him to ever lose that and for a minute I thought he had let others' opinions get the best of him and it crushed me!"

She also wrote that she doesn't think the kids who bullied him are evil. "I think one kid said something mean and that others got caught up in it and it snowballed from there. It's another important conversation we should all be having with our kids—DON'T just go along with something you know is not right… I think all kids just want to fit in and sometimes that might mean agreeing with something you know is wrong."

Struckman's posts on Facebook have received overwhelming attention, with thousands of comments of support pouring in. She says she's also received countless messages from all over the world, as well as offers to send Evan money. He doesn't need cash, she has said, requesting that people make donations instead. However, for the people asking if they can send him a card, she provided a PO box number.

What a great example of resilience on Evan's part and loving support on his mom's part. Bullying only prevails if we let it. Good job owning your own self, Evan. And good job, mama, for teaching your kid to be compassionate even as you teach him to stand up for himself.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

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