In a story that is sure to break even the toughest heart an 11-year-old boy from North Carolina who was bullied mercilessly for his love of My Little Pony and attempted to take his own life. When Tony Wayne—a tattoo artist at Imperial Tattoo Company in Sugarland, Texas—heard the story he knew that he needed to do something to help out young Michael Morones and his family.
“I’m a big sucker for kids,” Wayne said. “I know a lot of us in the tattoo industry are used to people not exactly agreeing with what we do. When I heard this kid’s story I was pretty sad about what this world has come to and knew that I wanted to help.”
The way that Wayne figured he could help was by offering My Little Pony tattoos for $20 with all of the proceeds being donated to the Michael Morones Foundation. By inking the very subject that bullies used to ridicule Morones on to people Wayne is turning the cartoon characters into a symbol of defiance.
“I posted that I would be doing this for the month of February,” Wayne said. “The next day I guess the whole world saw it and it just blew up. There was a line outside of our studio an hour and a half before we opened. People were waiting around for nine hours to get a tattoo. People were driving from five hours away in Dallas. It was a madhouse every day.”
In order to accommodate the huge demand and prevent people from spending all day in line the shop had to start doing the tattoos by appointment only; the entire month was booked one day later.
It’s been more than just Bronies—adult male fans of My Little Pony—who are stoked to get the tattoos.
“All sorts of people have been coming in,” Wayne said. “Our regular customers, families, groups of people, Bronies, people who like comic books. Basically everyone.”
People who wanted to get inked and donate to a good cause weren’t the only ones who were impressed by Wayne’s idea, roughly 25 other tattoo shops have rallied behind the idea and are offering similar promotions. In addition, Wayne has spoken with the Morones family about what he is doing and they fully support and appreciate the artist’s gesture.
Up until the beginning of this month Wayne had gone his entire career without tattooing a My Little Pony and now he and his coworkers have inked over 200 of them and they may very well have become the foremost masters at tattooing cartoon horses. Of course, it goes without saying that Wayne would have much rather continued his streak of never having tattooed a My Little Pony if it meant that Morones was never bullied.
One of the key lessons taught throughout the My Little Pony cartoons is that friendship is magic; by conducting this fundraiser Wayne has proven that tattooing can also be magic.