If there’s one person you’re not expecting a message from, it’s surely got to be your high school bully, right? After all, years have passed, people have moved on, and childhood memories are forgotten.
For US man Chad Michael Morrisette, he thought that was the case. But then in May 2015 he woke up to a message from Louie Amundson, a man he hadn’t heard from in almost 20 years.
“Hey Chad,” the message from Amundson began.
"I was recently talking with my 10-year-old daughter about bullies. She asked me if I had ever bullied anyone and sadly I had to say 'yes'. What came to mind is how s****y and mean I was to you when we were in Jr. High. I want to apologise. If we lived in the same state I would apologise to your face. I don't even know if you remember, but I do and I am sorry."
Upon receiving the message, 34-year-old Morrisette says the memories of a group of football-playing friends following him through the school corridors of their Alaskan high school and hurling abuse at him suddenly came flooding back.
“It unlocked something in me I didn’t realise I’d been holding onto,” he told Yahoo News. “I cried a little bit. It was so moving.”
While Morrisette, who left home at 15, doesn't remember Amundson individually, he responded nonetheless.
"Louie, I'm quite moved by this," Morisette wrote. "Thank you and accept your apology. In 20 years you are the only person to apologise for being a bully to me when we were younger. I hope you can proudly tell your daughter that you have also apologized for it, and that we are good. It's amazing what 20 years and children can do to us, no? Thank you again, and I hope you stand up to bullying any time you see it."
Amundson said that receiving the response made him feel "humbled and ashamed and relieved all at once," explaining that he did not believe Morisette owed him forgiveness.
"The fact that he was able to forgive me showed that I may have been the bigger kid, but he is the bigger man,” Amundson said.
Amundson wrote one further response to Morisette, this time substantially shorter.
"Thank you. Your forgiveness means more than you know and I hope I am kit [not?] the last to ask for forgiveness from you."
Morisette says the takeaway message of the exchange is that "it does get better" for those experiencing bullying.
“It’s hard to see that now. And it doesn’t get better in a year or two, necessarily, but twenty years later you’ll look back and realize, it is better." He added finally, "It’s never too late.”
It's been two years since their story first surfaced. Now that it has reemerged online all we can say is: we're not crying, you are.
Have you ever received a message from your high school bully?