For all the fancy trappings and buildup, most people’s prom experiences never quite live up to the as-seen-on-TV expectations.
But here’s a real-life story that just might have you believing in fairy tales — about a Chicago boy who was ditched by his so-called friends on prom night but walked away a winner.
High school senior Jackson Loop first made the news when his mum Sheila wrote a letter to their local Seattle radio station, which was read out by presenter John Richards.
Jackson had been excited to go to prom with a group of band friends, the letter explained, but on Saturday, May 26, the day of the prom, he got a group text saying they weren’t doing pre-prom pictures, so he waited until 6 pm to get dressed up in his brand-new, custom-tailored suit.
Take a second to get to know some amazing kids who, on a Monday, changed one life. This is MUST LISTEN/READ. I'm not crying, you're crying. #DustyInHere @kexp https://t.co/jugG4KIGfR pic.twitter.com/0Gqs6DjPtm
— John Richards (@loserboy) May 31, 2018
“And then he waited, and he waited, and he waited,” Sheila wrote. “No one responded to his texts or picked up his calls. His younger brother and sister and I watched him as he started to realise that he was being ditched and I have to tell you that in my 18 yrs of parenting I have never felt so much pain.
“It was mixed with an indescribable amount of rage. This was painful. Then, after he changed out of his suit, he saw all of their pre-prom pictures on Facebook, and he all but collapsed in the kitchen.”
The saddest thing is that Jackson ultimately wasn’t too surprised that he’d been treated this way. He had often told his mother that he felt like an “invisible, throwaway loser.”
“He’s always been on the fringe and really wanted to be part of a group,” Sheila tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It wasn’t until high school band where we thought, ‘Oh, great! There’s going to be band kids!’”
But the band kids who Jackson thought were his friends actually weren’t all that kind to him; he’d told his mother that they’d left him out of their group on a recent trip to Disney World, as well as on other occasions.
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But there was a happy ending to Jackson’s story — thanks to another, more authentic group of friends, made up of juniors in the band. They saw what happened and sought to right the wrong.
One of those friends, Sophie, texted Jackson’s mum that Saturday night, asking her to sneak his suit into the trunk of his car on Monday, which was Memorial Day.
Jackson was then invited over to Sophie’s house for what he thought was a ‘regular hangout’. His friends, all dressed in formalwear, greeted him at the door, shouting, “Happy fake prom!”
“I was flabbergasted. I didn’t know how to respond,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“I’m in the bathroom changing [into my suit] and I kind of shed a tear a little bit, because no one has ever done this for me, really ever.”
The group spent the afternoon posing for pictures and eating ‘fake prom’ cake, and the contrast between what real friends would do for him and what the other kids did was enlightening for Jackson.
While the kids who had ditched him gave him a lame excuse about being ‘disorganised,’ he can now see through their behaviour and doesn’t think he’ll speak to them again.
He has words of advice for anyone else who may be similarly misled.
“You may feel like you belong in a place and you’re in a great group of friends, but make sure that they’re taking care of you as well,” he says.
“Listen to your gut. If you feel pissed off about something and feel like they’re not treating you well, then you’re probably right. It took me a long time to figure that out.”
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