One day, when I was a freshman in high school,
I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name
was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought
to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on
a Friday? He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend
planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow
afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking,I saw a bunch of kids running
toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his
arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went
flying, and saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him.
He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart
went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around
looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed
him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks.They really
should get lives." He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!"
There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles
that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books,and
asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me,
so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had
gone to private school before now.
I would have never hung out with a private school
kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books.
He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted
to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes.
We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more
I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning
came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I
stopped him and said, "Boy, you're gonna really build serious
muscles with this pile of books everyday!" He just laughed
and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and
I became best friends.
When we were seniors, began to think about college.
Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that
we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem.
He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a
football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased
him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech
for graduation.I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there
and speak. Graduation day,I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was
one of those guys that really found himself during high school.
He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.
He had more dates than me and all the girls loved
him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked
him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!"
He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one)
and smiled. "Thanks," he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat,
and began."Graduation is time to thank those who helped you
make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers,
your siblings,maybe a coach... but mostly your friends. I am here
to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best
gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story."
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as
he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill
himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out
his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying
his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me little smile.
"Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the
unspeakable." I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this
handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I
saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful
smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth. Never underestimate
the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change
a person's life.
For better or for worse. We are all in each other's
lives to impact one another in some way. Look for good in others.
"Friends are angels who lift us to our feet
when our wings have trouble, remembering how to fly."