Man takes cat lunchbox to work in support of bullied cousin

photo shows David Pendragon wearing a suit in an office and holding a lunchbox with pictures of cats on it. Image copyright David Pendragon

David Pendragon's 10-year-old cousin Ryker loves cats.

Ryker was overjoyed when he was given a new lunchbox covered with faces of cats.

However, when he took his new feline-inspired lunchbox to school, he was teased by other children who thought it wasn't appropriate for a boy.

When David heard his young cousin was unwilling to bring his lunch to school for fear of being teased, he decided to take action.

David sourced his very own kitty-covered lunchbox and proudly took it to his "large, conservative, corporate workplace" in North Carolina, US.

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Speaking to the BBC, David said: "My cousin Emily, Ryker's mother, was frustrated about what had happened, so I told Ryker I had ordered the same lunchbox as him.

"He was really happy and I think felt validated by it."

David shared what had happened in a Facebook post which has been shared 46,000 times and had more than 110,000 reactions.

He explains that he decided to stand in solidarity with Ryker to, "show him that a man can love whatever he wants and not be afraid to express that love".

David continues: "There's no one way to be a man. Men can be colourful. Men can be expressive. Men can be emotional and silly and gleeful.

"I love my new lunchbox and I hope Ryker and all the other boys out there can see that their passion and self-expression is never something to be ashamed of."

Reflecting on the huge response to the post, David told the BBC he has been "overwhelmed" by the positive reaction, and feels "grateful people are sharing the message to young boys that there is more than one way to be a man."

Many thousands of people commented on David's post to applaud his actions and echo his sentiment.

Image copyright Louise Gunter
Image copyright Natalie Johansen

A number of parents of boys who also like cats were moved by the post, and some were worried their sons may also face bullying because of their fondness for the animals.

Image copyright Sally Hillman

David added that he shares these concerns: "I have a one-year-old son who I want to protect from everything.

"But I know he needs to be who he is, and I'll love him no matter what."

"I am very proud to set a positive example for Ryker and other young boys".