Bullying is a serious problem.
According to Family First Aid, nearly 30 percent of teens in the U.S. are estimated to be involved in school bullying, wether they’re being bullied or doing the bullying.
Josh Yandt, who lives in London, Ontario, was no exception. And after being bullied for years, he decided to make one simple tweak when he transferred schools: He started opening doors for his classmates.
“The first few weeks when I started doing it they were kind of shocked,” he explains in a video for West Jet’s Above & Beyond, a series that shares the stories of inspirational Canadians.
Not many people hold doors, right? But after that, people started to open up to me. Opening a door is more than a physical act, it’s about putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, making them feel welcome. Opening doors gives people hope that people care.
Holding the door for his classmates changed everything for Yandt, and now he has more friends than he can count. “People just love what I do. Every day people always say ‘thank you,’ people smile, and it’s really great,” he told Canada’s CBC news as classmates clapped him on the back, said thanks, or gave a hello as they passed by in the hallway.
The story doesn’t end there.
Yandt was crowned prom king, and he’s taken on speaking engagements, sharing his story with younger students. “I would have never thought he would be a public speaker because he had been so shy,” his mom said. “But he took to public speaking like a duck to water.”