Bullying is a part of life for millions of children and adults daily. It’s awful. It’s cruel. And it can leave emotional scars that last a lifetime for both the bullied and the bully.
Chad Michael Morisette was tormented as a child by many bullies. Louie Armundson was one of them.
Morisette is an adult in his 30s now, and not long ago received an unexpected surprise message from Louie.
Armundson is a father now, and his daughter was doing a project about bullying in school.
She asked her dad, “Have you ever bullied someone?”
Armundson was a little caught off guard because the answer was a definite “yes.”
He told his daughter how he used to bully Morisette, and after reliving that story in the sharing of it with his daughter, he felt compelled to reach out and apologize.
“I took the easy route, picking on the kid everyone was picking on,” Armundson told Inside Edition.
Armundson looked Morisette up and sent him a message:
Morisette received Armundson’s text and was shocked. It had been over 20 years since Morisette had even seen Armundson, and although he definitely remembered the bullying, the name didn’t click immediately.
“[The message] unlocked something in me I didn’t realize I’d been holding onto,” Morisette told Yahoo Parenting. “I cried a little bit. It was so moving.”
Armundson and Morisette were on the same football team in junior high, where much of the bullying had occurred. The triggered emotions left Morisette with a feeling that he wanted to share with Louie in a reply message. And he did:
Armundson knew he had done the right thing ,and Morisette forgiveness humbled him to his core.
In an effort to inspire other bullies to follow in Armundson’s footsteps, Morisette posted the messaged exchange between the two online.
He also had a message for those who are bullied, “It does get better,” he wrote. “It doesn’t get better in a year or two, necessarily,” said Chad. “But twenty years later you’ll look back and realize, it is better.”
Yes, it does get better. Making his apology via text message didn’t sit right with Louie, so he asked Chad if he could fly to Los Angeles, where Chad lived, to make a personal apology. Chad agreed, and not long after, the two met again in person at their old junior high school.
Morisette’s former junior high friends and one of his teachers also reunited in support of him during the visit—it was the first time in nearly 20 years that Morisette had set foot in Alaska.
Chad credits his friends for protecting him against the bullies and became emotional in describing his teacher, Janet Steinhauser, who always had his back.
“She protected me and she fostered my talents,” said Chad. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for her.”
“Sorry goes a long way,” Morisette said to Armundson.
“Forgiveness does too,” he replied.
Watch Inside Edition’s story here: