Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Friendship Story

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Everyone once in a while I stumble onto a story that I did not write but want to share with others. This is one of them. I chose to share it with you because it reminds me so much of what my fifth grade teacher did for me so many years ago. The Friendship Story has been floating around the Internet for some time now but I have no idea who wrote it. If you own the copyright to it or are the original composer of the piece, and wish to claim credit for it or want it taken down, please contact me immediately. Please also inform me if you are aware of its origin.

One day when I was a freshman in high school, I saw the new kid in my class 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 with parties and a football game with my friends. So I shrugged my shoulders and walked on.

Just then a bunch of kids ran toward him, knocking the books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. As he looked up, I saw a terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. I jogged over to him, picked up the glasses and handed them to him.

"Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives," I commented.

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. As we walked home, I discovered he was a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he would like to play football with me and my friends on Saturday. He said, "Yes." We hung out together all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. My friends liked him too.

On Monday morning, I saw Kyle carrying his huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Dang, boy you are gonna really build some serious muscle carrying this pile of books everyday!" He laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. By our senior year, Kyle had filled out and looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. All the girls loved him, and he always had lots of dates. He had studied hard and was valedictorian of our class.

On graduation day, he was to give a speech. I could see that he was nervous. So I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!" He looked at me with one of those really grateful looks and smiled, 'Thanks."

He started 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 you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give."

Then he began to tell the story of the first day we met. I stared at him in disbelief when he told how he had planned to kill himself that weekend. He had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn't have to do it later. I heard a gasp go through the crowd as this handsome and popular boy told about his weakest moment.

He looked hard at me, gave me a little smile, and said, "Thankfully, my friend saved me from doing the unspeakable."

His mom and dad looked at me with a grateful nod. Not until that moment did I realize that in one small gesture I changed a person's life. Now I never underestimate the power of my actions. I learned that the support of a caring friend can impact someone in ways we may not fully understand and appreciate.

Food for thought: Doesn't this remind you of the fifth grade teacher story? Think of what the power of reaching out to someone can do for that person. It will forever cause a ripple effect. Whoever wrote the above story, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing it!
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