Connect
To Top

Man Finally Apologizes 60 Years Later For Bullying Sisters Throughout School


Better late than never! A man who bullied two sisters from elementary through high school finally saw the error of his ways. Sixty years later, he stepped up to make amends with the sisters, but would they accept his apology after all this time?

Traumatizing Childhood

In the late 50s, Bruce Smit had no issues with terrorizing sisters Kathleen Rys and Lorraine O’Kelly during their time at Monee Elementary School in Illinois. He wasn’t quite the ringleader but jumped in on the bullying with other peers.

Mary O’Kelly / WBUR

The bullying continued through their time at Crete-Monee High School, where Kathleen and Lorraine were labeled outcasts. No one wanted to talk to them or hang out with them. Instead, they made jokes about them and shunned them, with Bruce and other friends often leading the pack. As Kathleen and Lorraine grew up, they clung to each other, realizing that their friendship was all they really had.

Reaching Out

Now, at 71 years old, Bruce realized that he was part of the reason behind the sisters’ painful childhood. Those memories tormented him as he got older. He and his wife, Tammy, reached out to the sisters to attempt to make amends.

Gary Middendorf / Daily Southtown / Chicago Tribune

Even decades later, both Lorraine and Kathleen were unsure of meeting with their former tormentor. After all, the bullying affected both women well into adulthood. In fact, Kathleen still typically stays to herself and doesn’t have many friends. Though Lorraine’s life turned out a bit better, she still struggled to stand up for herself, especially when it came to disciplining her kids later in life. But, even with that bad history, the sisters finally both agreed to meet Bruce.

Finding Forgiveness

Bruce, Kathleen, and Lorraine were able to meet at a local Panera, where Bruce apologized for all that he had put them through. Finally letting go of the past, the sisters were able to forgive him for all the pain he caused. The three have even gone on to become pretty good friends!

Tammy Smit / WBUR

With bullying at an all-time high today, the trio’s story serves as a cautionary tale about its long-term effects. While Bruce, Kathleen, and Lorraine were finally able to find peace, it still negatively affected each of them in some way over the years. Hopefully, more bullies see the error of their ways now as kids, and turn things around for the better!

More from IcePop


More in Impact