"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always." A teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome who was viciously beaten for being different has decided not to press charges against his attackers - so long as they take the time to learn about his condition.
Gavin Joseph, a high school graduate from New Baden, Illinois, was beaten by a gang of other teenagers who mocked him for spending most of his time alone.
He was left with a concussion, a bruised esophagus, a fracture on his nose and a huge black eye in the heartless beating - but decided to hold back from taking legal action.
Instead, Gavin made a 20-minute video for his assailants explaining the realities of living with Asperger's, a type of autism, and asked only that they watch it with their families present.
Gavin's mother, Courtnie Stone, posted an account of his response to the attack on social media, alongside pictures of her son's still-raw injuries.
Stone wrote that Gavin, who was diagnosed with the disorder at age three, 'makes everyday interactions with people very difficult' and means that he has trouble making and keeping friends.
As a result, she said, he spends a lot of time out on his own - which some of his peers dubbed 'weird' and 'creepy'. And at an event on Friday, one of the group who dislike him called him over to meet somebody, then had his friends surround Gavin while he attacked him, then left him bleeding on the pavement. 'He was called to meet someone, surrounded by people he didn't know, choked, punched, and left laying on the pavement so he would "learn his lesson". 'Gavin is fine. He has a mild concussion, a bruised esophagus, the tip of his nose fractured, and hematoma in his eye, but nothing permanent.' 'He did not press charges, but requested their community service be disability-related, that they write a paper on Asperger's, and that they watch a 20 min video statement he taped while their families were present so they could see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective. #Consciousvibrancy