The word quickly spread. A huge 20 stone man covered in tattoos was in school and something was happening in the main hall. Pupils were already crowding the doors trying to glimpse what was going on inside. Local press were lining up. Photographers appeared in the foyer. Year 7s were the first to meet Scary Guy – a huge Texan tattoo artist whose face was as colorful as his message. The hall was packed with pupils and teachers and others who somehow sneaked in, aware that something extraordinary was happening. And it was.
No-one knew his name.
‘They call me the Scary Guy,’ he drawled in his deep bass American voice.
No-one spoke. No-one dared.
Then he went on to make us laugh, make us think about how we treat other people and how we see ourselves and ultimately challenge us to change our lifestyle, especially our words.
‘Words are powerful!’ he warned.
Before he knew what was happening a Year 7 boy found himself right at the front being shown how to hug – man style.
‘Jus’ come at me as if you’re goin’ to punch me and then ya do this, go like this and ..’
We watched, transfixed, wondering if this would turn into some wild wrestling move.
The hall resounded with wild clapping as they hugged one another. And the hugging was infectious.
‘Everyone needs 16 hugs a day,’ Scary explained and Lord Lawson pupils quickly joined in the action. Even Mr. Reach had a bearhug from the gentle giant as he volunteered to come forward.
The Scary Guy broke down barriers and showed us all how simple it was to make someone else feel good rather than criticise them. He challenged negative mindsets and name calling and showed us all how valuable we all are. His mission? To eliminate anger, hate, and violence. And in true comic book hero style, he succeeded. We laughed, cheered, whistled and joined in the fun. Except, of course, he had a serious message. We won’t forget it.