Saturday, March 15, 2014

Teenage Samaritan Defends Kid Against Bully

When 16-year-old Roman Rodriguez walked out of his father's Kenpo karate school in Holyoke, MA little did he realize that his training mettle would be sorely tested. Thereupon he witnessed an 11-year-old boy with mental disabilities being harassed by a group of rowdies. The apparent ringleader was a strapping 14-year-old at six foot and 220 pounds. When Roman intervened, the instigator - identified only (and ironically) as "Angel" - attempted to hit him, but was summarily taken down by Roman. "He's a lot bigger than me, so I only knocked him down and restrained him," the 16-year-old, who has earned a purple belt, said. "I wanted to avoid things getting worse."

Unfortunately things did get worse.

The bullying Angel runs home and returns to the scene with his mother to settle the score. Apparently picking on young kids who are mentally challenged is a rite of passage for aspiring punks. Only now our Angel is brandishing a large kitchen knife ! It would seem Angel and his mom have some disabilities of their own, proof that bullying and sociopathic tendencies are not merely learned but highly heritable traits.

Thinking quickly and smartly, Roman ran back into the karate school where his father Ricardo was getting ready to close for the day.

"I witnessed this kid's mother encourage her son to stab mine. She was instigating a fight," Ricardo said. "My first reaction was to protect my son, but also to avoid any kind of tragedy."

Within minutes, officers of the Holyoke Police Department were on the scene. The 14-year-old was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. His mother, Jomery Rivera, was charged with disorderly conduct.

Reflecting on the high-intensity situation, Ricardo said he is proud of his son. "Just as I taught him, he defended someone who couldn't defend himself."

The "best part" came a day later, Ricardo said, when another of his students who witnessed the incident, 11-year-old Timothy Colón, gave Roman a certificate of recognition to thank him.

"It emphasizes what I already knew; he's a really good kid," he added.

I see a black belt in this fine young man's future. His father is rightly proud.

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