WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — A Colorado kid has caught the attention of Hollywood A-listers after his story of bullying went viral.
In May, FOX31 featured Brody Ridder, a fifth-grader who signed his own yearbook after he said his classmates refused. A group of high school students stepped in to help, filling Brody’s yearbook with notes of encouragement and friendship.
“So after we met with you guys and did our interview with you guys, a couple national news networks got a hold of it,” Brody’s mother, Cassandra Cooper, said.
His story went viral.
“We started getting even more of an outpouring of support from across the world,” Cooper said.
Brody and his mom say they had to open a post office box to handle the hundreds of letters and dozens of packages.
Companies like Mattel, GoPro and CVS sent him swag. The Broadway cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” invited Brody to New York City, where he got VIP tickets to a performance. All of the actors signed his yearbook too.
Even Russell Wilson sent him a box of clothing and a note of encouragement.
Brody said hearing from so many people gives him “every emotion. Every single one.”
However, he said one person stands out above the rest: Hollywood actor Paul Rudd.
“It was amazing. Just to see that somebody as famous as him has a heart of gold,” Cooper said.
She said Rudd’s sister reached out to her, saying that she shared Brody’s story with her famous brother and he insisted she try to connect the two.
Rudd and Brody spent nearly an hour on a FaceTime call.
A short video shows Rudd saying, “I heard about you and I’m like, I’ve got to talk to this kid, because this kid sounds like my kind of guy.”
Brody said he had a hard time responding because he “was holding in tears.”
“He tells me that he went through the same stuff and how to prevent it. Like, if you can’t beat them, make them laugh,” Brody said.
The two exchanged phone numbers and have been in regular contact since, most recently chatting about their interest in World War II history and memorabilia.
In one text, Brody told Rudd, “Your my favorite superhero,” to which Rudd replied, “You’re mine.”
“I started crying. My mom started crying,” Brody said.
Brody said the kindness he’s been shown over the summer has had a positive impact on his life and has led to an improvement in his mental health.
“I have never seen him this outgoing and bubbly and happy all the time. It’s beautiful,” Cooper said. “He’s a completely different child to me, he really is.”
She said she also believes that his story will help other children who also experience bullying.
“Brody’s story is making a difference, I feel. In talking to all those kids, reading those letters from the other kids and the adults, people relate to Brody,” Cooper said.