Nova Scotia teen who's faced bullying 'overwhelmed' by special prom escort

A Nova Scotia teenager was “overwhelmed” after getting a special motorcycle escort to their high school prom Thursday evening.

Emily Kinnear, 18, is set to graduate from Cole Harbour District High this month.

But the 12th-grader, who uses they/them pronouns, said their journey through school wasn’t always easy, having struggled with bullying “quite a bit” throughout their life.

“Anxiety, depression, the standard qualms of bullying,” they said.

Emily is also partially sighted and unable to drive. As well, their partner lives in another province and was unable to make it to prom.

Emily Kinnear, centre, was escorted to prom by nearly 30 motorcycles.

Emily Kinnear, centre, was escorted to prom by nearly 30 motorcycles.

Facebook/Jane MacDonald-O'Connell

Their mother, Shanna Kinnear, said her cousin had been planning to transport Emily to prom, but he was unable to after falling ill.

Shanna said she reached out to one of her friends, who got ahold of the group Bikers Down Society.

“(Emily) wanted to do the James Bond thing with the white tux, arriving on a motorcycle,” said Shanna.

“These guys jumped in and took over. It was amazing.”

‘It just blew up’

Frank Marcelli, who is in the society, said he was touched by Emily’s story and wanted to help.

“As soon as I heard the full story on escorting Emily to the prom, I was 100 per cent in,” he said. “Definitely, there was nobody else that needed to be asked because I was 100 per cent doing it.”

He connected with a few other bikers on Facebook, and “all of a sudden everybody wanted to go.”

“I think there was about 26 motorcycles there and a couple cars,” he said. “The whole neighbourhood was out to check out what was going on.”

Emily Kinnear says the prom escort was a memorable way to kick off Pride month.

Emily Kinnear says the prom escort was a memorable way to kick off Pride month.

Facebook/Jane MacDonald-O'Connell

Marcelli ended up driving Emily to prom on his motorcycle, surrounded by the procession of bikes.

Donning a white suit jacket and a colourful Pride mask, Marcelli said Emily was “probably one of the best-dressed people there.”

It was Emily’s first time on a motorcycle and they said it was quite the experience.

“It was fast-paced, I could feel a lot of the wind,” they said. “I really wanted to stick my head out like dogs do out of a window. I had to restrain myself.”

The number of motorcycles that arrived came as quite a shock to the Kinnears.

“It just blew up. I had no idea there was that many bikes coming,” said Shanna. “I knew there was one, and they decided to keep it secret and surprise us.”

Emily says they were 'slightly overwhelmed' by the response from the bikers Friday night.

Emily says they were 'slightly overwhelmed' by the response from the bikers Friday night.

Shanna Kinnear

So was Emily surprised?

“Very much so, slightly overwhelmed,” they said with a smile.

Andrea Williams, Marcelli’s wife and a board member of Bikers Down, said the society does community work and charity rides and were happy to bring Emily to prom.

Williams said the group hopes to fight some of the “rough and tough” stereotypes associated with bikers.

“I have four kids myself … we’re just normal people,” she said. “It’s really an extraordinary community and I think it’s very misunderstood in most cases.”

The Bikers Down Society says they were happy to escort Emily to prom.

The Bikers Down Society says they were happy to escort Emily to prom.

Facebook/Jane MacDonald-O'Connell

Following their grand entrance, Emily said prom “went well” and they even came out to some of their classmates during the event.

After graduation, the teenager hopes to go to NSCC to learn how to make accessible web pages for other people with visual impairments.

Meanwhile, they will ride out the rest of Pride month after a memorable beginning.

“It was a great way to kick it off,” Emily said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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