COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - Hundreds turn out on the north shore to support a Covington teen with autism, who was randomly attacked a couple of weeks ago, and left with a broken jaw.
17-year-old Jacob Kelley loves using his voice to entertain people. "Singing is one of my special things in life," Kelley said.
An attack two weeks ago while walking home from the library, left Jacob, for a short time, without the ability to even open his mouth. He remembers, "One of them comes up and just punches me right in the jaw."
"He has four titanium plates and 16 screws," explained his mom, Christine.
Two juveniles were arrested for the attack which Christine Kelley thinks was a version of the knock out game. "Just to hit someone for no reason whatsoever, I can't wrap my head around that. And you don't ever want anybody to be hurt but for a special needs person," Christine Kelley said.
Covington business owner, Dudley Geigerman, says, "It brings a lot of anger and you don't know what goes through these kid's minds and how this is fun to them, putting pain on someone defenseless especially like Jacob."
Geigerman, who also has a son with autism, heard about the attack and quickly organized a car wash and donation drive for the family. He explains, "We all want to show, including the whole Mandeville football team was here today, doing everything, is that we've got your back."
Total strangers gathered at Geigerman's shop in downtown Covington to hand over checks and offer words of encouragement.
"It's amazing and it's so important for him to hear all the well wishes and prayers and stuff," said Christine Kelley.
Jacob says he was surprised to see so many people show up on a rainy Sunday...just for him! He says he feels loved and has advice for anyone else who may find themselves the victims of a senseless attack. "No matter how much pain you're in, just look on the bright side, at least you're still kicking and still alive but you're gonna find there's still a lot of people that are going to have your back and are going to support you," Jacob explained.
Jacob's family plans to use the money given to them to pay for moving expenses. They're re-locating to a different part of Covington.