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It’s You and Me: Pokémon GO Community Rallies Around Teen With Autism Who Was Bullied Out of Playing the Game

A bunch of members of the Arizona Pokemon Go Community Facebook group showed up in support of 15-year-old Ty Swartout, who lives with autism, and his mother, Angie Swartout, after learning they had encountered some exceptionally rude bullies while playing the popular game last week.

According to a Facebook post written by Ty Swartout’s sister on the group’s page, they were out playing Pokémon GO when they encountered two men who appeared to be students at Arizona State University. The two men stomped on a bottle of barbecue sauce, spraying the sauce all over the Swartouts. As Swartout explains in the video above, she overheard them say, “Yeah, we got the r-word.”

Not willing to let such a transgression stand, a group of folks rallied around the young player and his mother, inviting him back out to play with them. People showed up in droves, each of them offering support and even gifts to the family. The show of support appeared to be overwhelming to Ty’s mother, as she said, “I’m so grateful. I’m just so grateful because if this wouldn’t have happened, we would still be hiding in our house like a lot of families like ours do. And I just can’t thank everyone enough.”

It’s super heartening to see that Pokémon GO can indeed bring out the best in people. Whether the two men will see the effects of their actions—both the negative and the positive—are unclear, and we just may never know. It’s also unclear whether the two men were Pokémon GO players themselves. But what we do know, and what we can see is that there is an even larger group of people who are willing to come out and show that they truly care about everyone in their community. In the end, isn’t that what Pokémon is all about?

(via Huffington Post)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.