‘It makes me feel like I’m not alone,’ Monticello teen with autism gets a boost of confidence from football players at his school

Arkansas News

MONTICELLO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — A Monticello High School teen with moderate autism has newfound confidence all thanks to a group of football players that stepped in to support him this week.

They’re being called modern day superheroes for their acts of kindness to 16-year-old Aiden Hall.

“It makes me feel me. It makes me feel like I’m not alone a lot,” Aiden said.

Aiden has a red Superman cape that he loves to wear. He wears the cape at home and in the community.

Last Thursday, he built up the courage to wear it to school but not everyone was impressed by his gear.

“My husband drops him off in the morning. He got out and he had it on and he seen somebody saw it and kind of pointed at it and laughed a little bit under their breath and he noticed,” Aiden’s mother, Michallee Hall said. “He took his cape off and put it back in the car.”

Aiden’s father, Phillip Hall, took his concern about the incident to Facebook. Monticello student athlete and senior, Riley Williams, heard about the post and decided to round up a group of other teammates to take action.

“I just think it’s unfair that students can come to school and be confident then be shut down by people who shouldn’t do that to them,” Williams said.

Instead of Aiden’s dad dropping him off at school, Williams decided to pick him up from his home and ride to school together.

When they arrived, KJ Wells, Kanyon Burdan, Jordan Light and Nick Smith met them. Each of them wearing their own capes.

“It was tough for him and we all felt that,” Williams said. “It was just cool to be able to be like his bodyguards and just be able to help him into school and build his confidence back up.”

Aiden’s mother said her son has a huge heart that many people don’t get to see.

“He’s very guarded in public but I don’t think people know him. The people that take time to get to know him are always amazed by the depth of his emotions and the way he can describe things by writing it down,” Michallee Hall said.

Some of the athletes said they saw themselves in Aiden. Nick Smith said he was bullied when he was younger.

I used to get picked on a lot about what I used to wear,” Smith said. “I was fat and bald and stuff so I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I went through. Nobody likes to be picked on.”

Aiden’s parents commend the group of guys for sticking up for their son but one thing they admire is how they’re leadership on the football team transcends to the classrooms and school hallways.

Students across the campus look up to them for their athletic skills and popularity and they used old-fashioned teamwork to help a new friend off the field.

“They have so much power and they don’t even realize it,” Phillip Hall said. Aiden looks up to them. It’s amazing to see him be who he wants to be.”

Aiden says he’s thankful the group supported him. Now, he hopes others have the courage to stand up for themselves.

“Don’t listen to them. Just have fun,” he said.

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