With a new year come new resolutions and fresh starts. One ex-bully took this opportunity to make peace with his former high school victim from 8 years ago.

A couple of days before New Year's Eve, 2018, he messaged Mina Gerges on Facebook to apologize for what he had put him through.

One apology over social media, as opposed to face-to-face, may seem like too little too late, considering that Mina had gone through years of bullying, which most likely had serious effects on his mental and physical health. But, surprisingly, this was not the case for these two.

The ex-bully's apology turned out to be a fresh start for both him and Mina, who was finally able to move on from the pain. The story has also resonated with dozens of other Twitter users.

Metro has interviewed Mina Gerges to find out more about him and the message.

Mina received the unexpected message on 29 December, 2018.

This is the story of Mina Gerges. Born in Egypt, raised in Abu Dhabi, the 24-year-old has been living in Toronto, Canada, since he was 12.

This move from the UAE to Canada was when it all started.

He went to high school there and, being so young and so different from the other children, became an easy target.

"High school in Canada was really hard."

"Getting used to the new culture was challenging and I was bullied a lot for my accent, my weight, my high voice, or my interests in art and acting," Mina told Metro.

There wasn't much support at home either.

"On top of that, I was coming to terms with the fact that I’m gay and desperately trying to learn to love who I am despite my Middle Eastern culture’s anti-gay views, and I was really afraid of the consequences if my parents found out."

And that was just a few years ago.

"At that time in high school, people weren’t as accepting of LGBT people, so there weren’t any people who were out of the closet for me to seek help from or look up to."

Having no one to turn to neither at home nor at school led Mina to feel extremely isolated.

"It felt really lonely at times not having anyone to talk to about this, so getting bullied for being feminine and being called “a faggot" didn’t make it any easier."

It's unbelievable how cruel people can be in the classroom.

"Some of the things this group of guys would do were make fun of my feminine actions, use anti-gay slurs at me, openly gossip about my sexuality, and mimic my voice when answering questions in class."

Now, 8 years later, Mina is bulletproof.

He's speaking up for the LGBT community. He promotes positive body image, and shows off the bright and happy personality that he has.

He had already buried the painful high school experience in the past.

So imagine his surprise when he turned on the phone one day and found an apology message from one of the bullies.

And he didn't know how to feel about it.

"At first I was shocked to see this message since high school was almost eight years ago."

Old memories came rushing back in.

"It brought back a lot of feelings I had when I was in high school of trying so hard to belong, getting bullied for being who I am and feeling lonely for not having anyone to talk to about this, and the long journey it took me since high school to love myself despite what these bullies and my culture say about being gay."

But he managed to break through the old feelings of fear and anger.

"To be honest, as shocked as I was to get this message, I also felt so happy to see that someone whose words and actions toward me were so cruel had grown up and learned to be empathetic and compassionate."

Most importantly, he did something most of us would probably fail to. He forgave the bully.

"I recognised how hard it is for him to own up to the mean things he’d done and said, and it made me see that people do eventually learn to be kinder and learn that their actions and words hurt people and they eventually mature and own up to their mistakes and apologise. It was an amazing moment for me."

This mature attitude is why Mina is successful and popular today.

He then took it one step further and shared the message on Twitter, hoping to spread some positive vibes for the beginning of the new year.

The response made him trend on Twitter.

Inspired by the likes, retweets and comments from others with similar experiences and even sorry ex-bullies, Mina decided to reply to the message.

He did it with grace.

"I said thank you and asked him what made him think of what he did to me in high school after all this time."

The ex-bully had a sincere response.

"He told me that it’d been weighing on his conscience for a while and that he’d wished he’d apologized sooner and that even though he can’t undo his actions or their impact on me, that he hopes that owning up to his actions and this apology and will help me heal."

Then he thanked Mina.

‘He also said he was thankful that I accepted his apology after all these years, and that he’s always open to chat more if I’d like to.’

And that was it.

Mina admitted to Metro that only after having this conversion was he able to really move on from the past.

He also hopes that sharing this story with other people will help them make peace with whatever has happened to them and be finally happy.

"I definitely forgive him after seeing this message," he said. God, where did this guy get the strength to take the high road and let go?

The isolation he had felt for so long didn't hurt anymore.

"I felt very nostalgic thinking about the pain and loneliness my younger self felt in high school, and the healing power that this apology has."

The effect of Mina's tweet was touching.

First of all, people were amazed that such an unheard-of thing even happened. It seemed like a Christmas miracle. For Mina, I'm sure it was.

Some people shared their own experiences with ex-bully apologies.

"One of my middle school bullies did the same thing to me this past summer and it honestly made me cry," said tylerkend12.

Others were less forgiving.

"This is the mantra of almost every high school bully: 'I don't remember what I did to hurt you or make your life miserable so it obviously wasn't that serious. Get over it,'" said StoryGuyNick.

Not everyone's been that lucky, though.

"I wish would happen for me I was bullied beat up teased my whole life instead these losers message you on fb asking why you decline their friend request well unless it’s an apology duck off many times it was so bad I thought I’d be better off dead so no I won’t be your friend," said Tina Kirslis.

Others encouraged empathy and forgiveness.

"This has happened to me on a few occasions, and it’s so important to forgive and appreciate when people grow and learn and want to make an improvement," said David Godfrey.

But the most moving ones were other ex-bully confessions.

I wish I could screenshot the tweet above, go back in time, go to my school, and wave the phone right in front of my classmates' faces who were often mean to other students.

Or print it off and hang it everywhere around the school. (It's not vandalism if it's for a good cause, right?)

I wish there were more people as brave as Mina Gerges and his ex-bully who would come out and speak up.

As for Mina, he hopes for compassion on both sides.

"I know that so many LGBT people experience the exact same bullying I experienced in high school and still face it every day, so I hope this apology shows that people eventually grow to be compassionate and apologize for their mistakes."

Finally, he signed off with an inspiring message for the LGBT students.

"I also hope this sends the message to younger LGBT kids in high school that it gets better eventually and they’ll still be able to flourish and succeed despite whatever negativity is thrown at them by bullies in high school."