PARCHMENT, Mich. — Support continues to grow for teenager Julian Martinez, who has autism and has been the victim of bullying.
Today, Martinez got a big surprise and an opportunity he never saw coming.
You've heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child,” but in this case, it took a community to pull off a big surprise for a 16-year-old Portage Northern High School student.
It all started with Martinez's best friend, Korey Bradshaw.
“Someone told him retards can't go to prom and so that completely brought him down, like, ‘I’m never going to get to go to prom,’ and someone told him a retard can't get a date,” Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw wanted to ask Martinez to prom, so with a little help, she connected with Ricki Strasser from Wicked Jeeps West.
Strasser says her heart broke when she learned about the bullying Martinez had experienced.
“They broke his phone, they've punched him in his stomach, they've called him horrible names and they've told him to commit suicide. You know, things like that. It's not okay to do that to anybody,” Strasser said.
On Sunday afternoon, a caravan of Jeeps rolled through the Kalamazoo area, setting up shop at Monro Muffler Brake and Service on Riverview drive in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Jeeps serving as a prop for one very important question.
“Everyone seems to try to single him out due to his disability and we all try to avoid the fact that he has this disability because he's still his own person,” Bradshaw said.
Several companies stepped in to offer up a corsage and boutonniere, hair-styling and a special suit for Martinez on his special day.
The event, from start to finish, put a big smile on his face.
Wicked Jeeps West tells us they also plans to drive Martinez and his crew to prom next month.