When a truckload of redneck teenagers repeatedly drove past Mateus Romualdo as the 11-year-old walked home from school, they unloaded a payload of racist slurs on his little head. The scared boy called his mother in tears, saying he was afraid the bullies would shoot him.
After his mother, Heather, took to Facebook to decry the state of America and the racists who attacked her son, Mateus’ youth basketball coach, Troy Harlan, caught wind of the episode and decided to do something about it.
He walked Mateus home. And he brought a few friends with him – including a former pro basketball player and the Utah Jazz mascot.
Hundreds of people joined Harlan and Mateus as they walked the route back home from his school in Murray, Utah, according to KSTU-TV.
“I know that when I read the post that his mom wrote about him being scared, I’ve gone through all that,” Harlan, who is also black, told the station. “I grew up in Davis County and I know what it feels like to be one of only two black kids at my school.”
“The message I want to happen is that people need to be held accountable. You’re not born to hate people. You’re taught to hate people. I don’t care what color you are. We are all the same.”
Mateus’ mother filed a police report and the incident is being investigated. Utah’s current hate crime statute is limited to misdemeanor crimes and does not include a list of protected groups.
Watch the beautiful video of Mateus’ trip home from school below and tell us your heart didn’t grow three sizes too big.