You couldn’t sell Hollywood on Whitney Kropp’s story -- the fairy tale ending sounds just too good to be true.
The teenager was treated like an outcast, a nobody, at Ogemaw Heights High School in West Branch, Mich. -- so much so that some of the bullies thought it would be funny to nominate her for homecoming court as a joke. But then the small farming community where Kropp lives caught wind of the mean-spirited prank.
Now Kropp is having the last laugh.
Businesses in her community have offered to give Kropp the night of her young life this Saturday when she goes to the homecoming dance. A restaurant is picking up the bill for dinner. A local photographer will memorialize the moment. Her hair, nails and makeup will be on the house, as will be her gown and heels. Someone is throwing in a tiara too.
Kropp’s story -- detailed in the Detroit News, among other places -- has touched hearts beyond West Branch. A Facebook page set up in her honor already has 56,000 “likes,” and she appeared on the “Today” show Tuesday morning to talk about the effects of bullying -- and to offer encouragement to other victims.
Many who have heard of Kropp’s story told the Detroit News that they’ll be there on Friday night during the homecoming football game, sporting T-shirts and toting signs that say “Team Whitney.”
Whitney told the “Today” show that she’s been bullied for being “different.” Her black clothing and unusual hair colors set her apart in the rural community, according to the Detroit News.
Her mother described her daughter as guileless and softhearted, telling the paper: “She doesn’t have mean bone in her body.”
So, shortly after the school year began, Whitney was surprised -- and thrilled -- to learn that she had been nominated for the homecoming court.
“I never thought I would be part of it,” she said.
But then, someone told her it was part of a secret joke -- and she was the punch line.
“Some kids thought it would be funny to put me in there as a joke, to make fun of me,” she told the “Today” show.
Her mother encouraged her to go to homecoming with her head held high. And that’s what she intends to do.
“I can prove everyone wrong,” she said, adding: “I’m not this joke that you guys thought of.”
Kropp said the incident has made her stronger than she ever believed, and the support has given her a much-needed boost of self-esteem.