Wil Wheaton who rose to fame with his role as Wesley Crusher in the hit television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, is often considered a “nerd culture guru.” In his panel interview at the Denver Comic Con last year, he provides a great advice on how to deal with bullying after being asked by a little girl if he was bullied when he was young.
“When I was a boy I was called a nerd all the time. Because I didn’t like sports, I loved to read, I liked math and science, I thought school was really cool — and it hurt a lot,” responded Wheaton. “It’s never OK when a person makes fun of you for something you didn’t choose. You know, we don’t choose to be nerds. We can’t help it that we like these things, and we shouldn’t apologize for liking these things.”
The video on Youtube resurfaced, and started going viral recently. On Reddit, a popular social networking service, the girl’s parents both made comments few days ago about the life-changing experience that happened the year before.
Her mother wrote: “That was my daughter. She and the girl that bullied her are cool with each other this year. They aren’t in the same class, though. This year has been a good year, but she noticed another little girl in her class kept getting picked on by the other students. She became this girl’s friend and stands up for her when the other kids are being mean. We’ve talked about this moment a lot. After this panel, she got her picture taken with Wil. He actually hugged her!”
Similar to his wife, the father wrote: “That was my daughter that asked that question. This was a magical moment for the whole family. What you might not get from the sound of all the applause is that there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after this. Mia met Wil again briefly at the Kansas city con this year, and he was as gracious and cool as you could have hoped. They talked about minecraft, ballet, mistakes, and silliness. Wil Wheaton, you are an honorary member of this family and I hope you know that you have made a real impact on Mia and the rest of us silly nerds. I wish you nothing but the greatest success. Oh yeah we love Tabletop too.”
Of course, few days after the Reddit post, Wil Wheaton also responded by writing a blog post on his website. He wrote:
“I’m so happy to learn that she and the girl who was mean to her have changed that relationship dynamic, but I’m so incredibly proud that she’s standing up against bullying with other kids in her school. I really try my best to be the person I want other people to be.
I don’t always succeed, but when I see things like this, and hear from people who have been touched or inspired by something I said or did in a positive way, it reminds me how important it is to do everything we can to be awesome.”
If you wish to read a more detailed version of his own experience of being bullied and his reactions, you can read it on his blog.