Kids can be cruel and teens more so than anyone, at times. In a segment of “What Would You Do,” a young teen girl playing the role of “Jillian,” who passersby will discover lives with Tourette syndrome, is mocked and bullied over the apparent affliction. It’s often discouraging the way people turn a blind eye to bullying but when watching someone take a stand for the victim is the ultimate uplift.
In this scenario, the narrator, John Quiñones, explains that Jillian has more bullies than buddies. Thankfully, the bullies in the scene are actors as well.
The scene takes place at an ice cream shop in New Jersey where the kids are ordering their favorite scoops and Jillian starts to have trouble when she speaks. The loud, “Ha” sound coming from Jillian “shocks” the other teen actors.
The taunting begins
One gentleman in line right away starts noticing the interaction between Jillian and her would-be bullies as she tries to explain she has Tourettes and the “Ha” sound she makes isn’t her laughing at them.
“Yeah, guys, it’s a pretty serious condition,” the gentleman explains to the kids. “It’s involuntary, do you know what that means?”
“You shouldn’t be making fun of her,” he tells the bullies.
The bullies continue, telling Jillian’s defender that she’s weird and asking why he is coming to her defense.
The man responds how everyone should, with compassion.
“I don’t like it when people bully people or demean them for something [the bullies] aren’t educated about,” he tells the kids.
“So the goal is to educate you guys, so that in the future you’ll know, ‘hey, I shouldn’t be making fun of these people, but I should be helping them because maybe they’ll be helping me in the future.'”
When Quiñones introduces himself to Jillian’s defender and asks what his message to bullies is, his answer was simple and clear.
“Stop bullying. People got to speak up when bullying happens,” he says. “Just say something.”
Unfortunately, there aren’t always people willing to speak out against bullying. This video reminds us of just how important it is to be an advocate.