FORTUNA – Kyle Ford is an active Fortuna resident. For years, he has taken nightly walks around his neighborhood he says for his health and to look at the stars. And something else about Kyle? He falls under the “autism spectrum disorder.”
“Unfortunately people with differences, whether it be the elderly or whether it be people with special needs, seem to have a target on them. When Kyle walks, he does walk a little bit differently and some people notice that and they'll shout insults at them or other various things,” Kyle’s mom, Barbara Nelson, said.
Kyle was taking his usual evening walk on the street when he was attacked on Sunday and then again on Tuesday.
“Some gentleman, I use that term loosely, decided to beat the hell out of me. It was completely random,” Kyle explained.
“It's a fear that we always have when we let individuals with special needs or differences out into the community-is that they get bullied, they get a target on them and people seem to think that it's ok to take liberty with them and hurt them in one way or another,” Kyle’s mom said.
Barbara says police are involved and there is a possible suspect. But Kyle isn’t going to let these two incidents change the way he lives. Despite the two attacks, he continues to walk.
“I won't back down because I'm afraid,” Kyle said.
“He has an inner strength and he's decided, and he made it very clear to me, he's not going to let somebody else run his life or ruin it and he's trying to send a very clear message, that we have a right to be out in the community,” Kyle’s mom added.
And it’s a message we could all live a little more. No matter what your differences, stand up for yourself and don’t let anyone stop your walk.