This is a story that has been around for a while but it is also one with a very powerful lesson. Regardless of whether you have heard it before or not, it can be a reminder on so many different levels.
The premise of the story is somewhat simple. A high school jock saves a small boy with glasses from getting bullied. Although many people considered this boy to be a nerd, the jock took his side.
It wasn’t until 4 years after they met and became fast friend that the truth came out. He had no idea how far his kindness had reached.
I was a freshmen in high school when I saw a kid walking home from school. He looked like he was carrying all of his books.
I wondered to myself why anyone would bring all of his books home for the weekend? He must be a nerd!
I had a full weekend planned with the big game coming up and spending time with all my friends. I didn’t really give him a second thought.
As I continued walking home, a bunch of kids came running up to him. They knocked all of his books out of his arms and tripped him, pushing him into the dirt. His glasses flew off of his face and landed almost 10 feet from him.
From where I stood, I could see the sadness in his eyes so I jogged over to him. He was busy crawling around looking for his glasses and I could see a tear forming in his eye.
I handed him his glasses and told him that those guys were just jerks. He thanked me with a big smile on his face. You could tell he was really grateful for what I did.
I helped him gather his books and asked where he lived. It wasn’t far from my home so I asked why I had not seen him before. It turns out, he had gone to private school before.
His name was Kyle and we struck up quite a conversation on the way home. I asked if he wanted to hand out with me and play football on Saturday. He agreed and the more we hung out with him, the more we liked him.
When Monday came, Kyle showed up again with a big stack of books. I made some comment about building muscle carrying the books and he just laughed and handed me some of them.
For the next 4 years, Kyle and I were best friends. We even started making college plans when we were seniors, although he was going to Georgetown and I was headed for Duke. I knew, regardless of the miles, we would always be friends.
Kyle was going to be a doctor and I was on a football scholarship and was studying business. Kyle was our valedictorian.
I had always teased him about being a nerd. He was preparing a speech for graduation and I was happy it wasn’t me that had to give it.
Kyle looked great for graduation. He actually filled out and grew into his glasses. Even the girls loved him and I was a bit jealous sometimes.
He was nervous about the speech but I gave him some encouragement, telling him he would do great. He smiled and thanked me.
He cleared his throat and began his speech.
“Graduation is a 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 couldn’t believe my ears when he told of how he had planned on killing himself on the day we met. He had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it and was carrying it home.
He looked at me and smiled. He continued that he was saved by a friend from doing the unspeakable. You could have heard a pin drop as he told his story.
I saw his mom and dad giving me the biggest smile. I had no idea, until that moment, that my gesture on that day had such a powerful impact.
The moral is; never underestimate what you do for others. Even a small gesture may mean the world to someone else.
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