First-grader Gage Berger often dreaded going to school because of the mean things other kids said about his ears.
Berger told INSIDE EDITION what the children say: "That I look like an elf and I have weird ears."
"I just don't want to be made fun of," he said.
His parents, Tim and Kallie, also have heard the taunts. Sometimes when their son looked in the mirror, he tried to push back his ears, just to see what he'd look like.
"I just don't want to be made fun of," said Gage.
"He just gets really down on himself and he thinks, 'I'm not good enough,'" his mom told IE.
His parents feared the bullying could permanently damage his self-esteem, so they went to facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven Mobley, in Salt Lake City. The doctor performed ear surgery on Gage.
The doctor used a wooden block-like toy to explain how he'd reshape Gage's ears. "You don't have that nice little inner tubular part, so we're going to recreate that," the doctor told Gage, showing him the model.
Surgery can be scary for a six-year-old, so for comfort, he brought along his stuffed tiger.
His parents offered words of reassurance. "You'll wake up and then you'll be done," said dad, and sent him off with a kiss.
As Gage headed to surgery, the surgeon explained why ear pinning can be helpful.
"They often get some not-so-nice name stuck to them, like 'bat ears' or 'elf ears,' and that sticks with them through middle school and high school," he said.
The surgery was done in about two hours. IE was there two days later, when the bandages came off. When Gage saw his new ears, he exclaimed, "Oh my gosh!"
His big smile from ear-to-ear said it all.
Dad said, "I think it looks really good!"
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