ORLANDO, Fla. – A 12-year-old Orlando boy recently got a whole new look and a lot of his confidence back thanks to a local tattoo artist who stepped up to help.
Xavier Holly has scoliosis and wears a back brace, something that has been hard for him, his mother, Ashley King, said.
When the boy found out in mid-August that he would have to wear the brace longer than he’d expected, King took to Facebook looking for some help.
“He’s embarrassed to wear this to school,” she wrote. “Last year he wore it under his shirt but it’s very noticeable and (he) got picked on.
“I’m looking for a place that can possibly do an airbrush design on (his brace) in Orlando.”
Angel Ruiza, owner of Anarchy Tattoos and Art Co. in Orlando, contacted King and offered to do the job free of charge.
“I was excited and amazed at how fast it all happened,” King said.
Ruiza, who also did free Pulse-themed tattoos after the June 12 nightclub shooting, asked King what her son liked and they settled on a shark theme.
Now, instead of a conspicuous white brace, Xavier is sporting a nighttime ocean scene with a great white shark and detailed moon and sky.
“He was shocked and instantly wanted to wear it to school to show all his friends,” King said.
She couldn’t thank Ruiza enough for what he did for her son.
“I cried,” she said. “I never expected it to be so amazing and full of details.
“I’m so grateful that something like this has changed my son’s confidence and makes him smile.”