He stood in the middle of the hall, his poster firm in his sweaty hands. He tried to smile, but his lips would not budge. The girl’s eyes locked with his, seemingly boring deep into him.
He took a step forward and bared her soul to her, asking if she’d be his date for prom. Her answer shattered his heart, but what followed was even more terrifying.
Coby Blackburn had always dreaded school dances. What many considered a time to celebrate students’ achievements was a long nightmare for him.
Coby’s dread stemmed from his inability to find a date. He’d always avoided high school dances since he’d been a junior, knowing the anxiety it brought when one was looking for a date. But he’d change his mind with the upcoming prom.
Coby was a student in one of the best high schools in California. As a senior, this prom would be his last. He’d have to do everything in his power to find a date and make an appearance.
As Coby had never been to any dance before, he didn’t quite know where to start. But since he’d powered through high school, he knew he’d need to ask a girl to the event.
Coby spent an entire week devising ways to ask a girl out to prom. Although this gave him sleepless nights, figuring out who he wanted to ask was a cakewalk. For the longest while, Coby had quite a crush on one of his classmates.
To him, the girl in question was perfect. She had the sharpest brain and wit, and her smile and the twinkle in her eyes were the stuff of myths. But that’s not why Coby wanted to take her to prom.
The girl, Lizzy Bateman, was one of Coby’s closest friends. Although they weren’t best friends, they were close enough to hang out on weekends and go to the movies together.
Still, there was one problem Coby feared. As Lizzy’s friend, he’d been there through some of her best and worst times. Coby knew her inside and out, which meant he knew what Lizzy wanted on a date.
Lizzy’s ideal date had always been one of those six-foot, broad-shouldered, ball-punting football players, which Coby was not. If anything, Coby was the exact opposite of what Lizzy considered ideal.
Would she ever see him as more than a silly friend to spend lazy weekends with? Would she give him a chance on the most critical day in his high school career?
As the prom drew near, Coby’s anxiety grew. Several of those ball-punting players had already asked Lizzy to the dance, and she’d refused. Maybe she was waiting for him to make a move.
Knowing that the prettiest girl in school was keeping herself for him, Coby doubled down on his efforts. He’d planned to simply ask her during lunch or on one of their movie weekends, but now he’d have to go big.
Coby raked his brain on the perfect way to ask Lizzy to the dance. He knew the gesture had to be massive. He’d have to show her that he was as worthy as the ball-punters.
He sat at his work desk that night, working on a sweet poster that would help him relay his message. He peppered the sign with inside jokes and movie references Lizzy would love. He didn’t know how everything would come crashing down.
That night, Coby went to bed with a grin on his face. Before he knew it, he was standing in front of Lizzy in their school’s hall. She looked at him with drawn brows, seemingly not understanding what was going on.
Her lips curled, although Coby could tell the smile wasn’t genuine. Her eyes darted all over the hall. If he didn’t pop the question now, he’d never get the chance to again.
“Would you like to go to the dance with me?” Coby stammered. In his mind, he could handle Lizzy saying no, although he knew he wouldn’t enjoy it. The worst she can say is no, his brain counseled.
“Ew,” Lizzy said. “Not ever,” an unknown fire burned within her eyes, and she took a step back, shaking her head. The students passing by all stood, breaking into roars of laughter and jeers. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
One of the students knocked Coby’s poster out of his hands and stepped on it. The entire hall erupted in an even wilder roar, and when Coby looked up, he found Lizzy laughing.
His shattered heart broke into tinier pieces, scattering before him with the torrents of laughter. He picked up his poster, his eyes damp with tears, and walked away.
The weekend passed with Coby sulking in his room. Although he didn’t mind Lizzy’s rejection, he couldn’t understand why she’d put him on display like that. She’d laughed at him.
To make it worse, one of the students streamed the rejection as it happened. Coby was trending on multiple social networks. He’d woken up to scores of mean comments on Saturday. Sunday had been worse. How could he walk into school now that Monday was here?
Coby had always thought that his school valued bravery, happiness, and care. It had taken a lot of courage for him to do what he did when he asked Lizzy to go to prom with him.
But Lizzy and the other students hadn’t cared about him at all when they witnessed his rejection. And now, he had to face something else he never saw coming.
Despite the humiliation Coby faced on Friday, he still showed up to school that morning. He expected more ridicule from the students and had spent the morning preparing for it.
But as he walked into the hall, his eyes glued to the floor, he noticed the students around him were quiet. Coby looked up, and that’s when he saw it.
Three cheerleaders stood before him with posters akin to the one he’d made for Lizzy. They were all asking him to prom. Unsure of what was happening, Coby took a step back.
But from his left, five more cheerleaders appeared, each with their posters. Another five emerged on his right. Coby looked around, remembering the pain he’d endured three days ago in this same hall. What was happening?
As the 13 girls all cornered him, Coby had no idea what they wanted from him. Were they here to humiliate him even further?
He had already had his heart broken by Lizzie’s cruel rejection just a few days earlier – the last thing he needed was more ridicule from all the girls on the cheerleading team.
The truth is, Coby was right. The girls were all there because of what had happened on the previous Friday. The video of Coby’s rejection had circulated around the whole school – everybody knew about it.
The 13 cheerleaders knew that Coby’s promposal hadn’t gone according to plan, so they decided to do something about it.
“You’re loved, and worthy, and awesome,” the head cheerleader said. “And we all want you to be our date to the dance,” another chimed in, wrenching a gasp from Coby.
Coby took a shaky step forward. The head cheerleader held out a hand to him, and he reluctantly took it. The rest of the cheerleaders came and hugged him as a group. His eyes teared, but there was no pain this time around.
Alyssa Buckley explained how she had approached the other girls after seeing how crushed Coby was. “Let’s get a group of girls together and ask him [to the dance] to show him that he’s loved and worthy and deserves to be going to homecoming with somebody,” she explained in an interview.
So, that’s just what the 13 girls did. They approached Coby in the hallway where he had been so humiliated, brandishing signs like the one he had made for Lizzie.
So, just as Coby had demonstrated the “bravery” that encompassed his school’s motto, the cheerleading squad stepped up to demonstrate the “care” part.
They wanted Coby to attend the dance, and they didn’t want him to have to do it alone. The signs they held were an ironic nod to his previous promposal disaster. But how did Coby feel about it?
The actions of the kind girls on the cheerleading squad had the desired effect on Coby. “I felt like one of the popular kids in school, which I’m really not,” he said of the heartwarming gesture.
But what gave the girls the amazing idea to approach Coby and ask him to the prom as a group in the first place?
According to the media outlets that interviewed the girls about their kind gesture, the cheerleading squad was inspired to perform an act of kindness for Coby because it was National Bullying Prevention Month.
After they had seen how the other students had humiliated him, they needed to come up with a plan to disapprove of all the students who had jeered at him.
As the girls approached Coby, they attracted a lot of attention from the other students. A crowd quickly formed in the hallway, and everyone gasped and shrieked when the girls strode up to him.
No doubt, they all thought there would be a repeat of the drama that had occurred on the previous Friday, but they were wrong.
Just like before, the students watching everything unfold whipped out their phones and started recording, hoping for some kind of juicy altercation.
But when the cheerleaders’ intentions became clear, jealousy rippled through all the boys in the crowd. Coby wasn’t just going to the prom with one pretty girl – he was going with 13! He got the last laugh in the end.
Of course, Coby accepted the kind group of girls’ invitation. And the irony that his first date wouldn’t be with one girl, but 13 wasn’t lost on the teenager.
While he practiced slow dancing with all the girls, he quipped: “It’s weird how the first date is with so many girls at once.” But Coby wasn’t the first boy to be humiliated during his promposal, and sadly, he certainly won’t be the last.
Another student’s promposal went horrendously wrong, humiliating him in front of an entire stadium of people.
In April 2015, Patrick Smith was excited about prom, but the way he went about asking the girl he wanted to go with was anything but private. And her reply wasn’t what he had been expecting at all.
Patrick Smith, a student in Park Ridge in New Jersey, asked a girl named Jen Malespina to go to prom with him during a sports event at his school.
He walked onto the middle of the field and approached Jen. Nervous with so many eyes on him, he stammered: “Is there any way you would wanna come to prom with me?”
Patrick’s promposal was within earshot of the microphone, so it rang out over the loudspeakers. So, it wasn’t just Jen who heard it, the entire crowd who had assembled to watch the event heard it too.
As if everyone in the stands hearing his promposal wasn’t bad enough, Jen’s response was not positive at all.
You see, unbeknownst to Patrick, Jen had already agreed to go to the prom with someone else. To his horror, she turned him down in front of the entire stadium of 2,000 people.
And, if his rejection being on public display wasn’t bad enough, there was footage from multiple angles that recorded his blunder as well.
Of course, Patrick’s disastrously awkward promposal went insanely viral. And, because teenagers can be extremely cruel, the humiliating event took years for Patrick to live down.
As long as there are high school students, there will be viral promposal fail videos. At least Coby was lucky and got the last laugh in the end.