I like it because it made me think. This week at the diner we’re discussing prejudice and conduct, how we as people interact, whatever our skin color, age or reading preference. Maybe it’s a bit mellowdramatic, but this e-mail speaks to how we treat others and how lives sometimes are shaped by small acts of kindness.
Here’s the e-mail:
“One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from 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 (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. Then I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They tripped him and knocked all of his books out of his arms. He landed in the dirt and his glasses went flying into the grass. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over as he crawled around, looking for his glasses, and I saw tears in his eyes. I retrieved his glasses and, as I handed him them, I said: ‘Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.’
“He said, ‘Hey thanks!’ There was a smile on his face, one that showed real gratitude.
“I helped him pick up his books and asked 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 had never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked if he wanted to play football with my friends. He said yes.
“We hung out 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 build some serious muscles with this pile of books every day!’
“He laughed and handed me half the books.
“Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was headed for business education, 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 very glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak. On graduation day, Kyle looked great. He was one of those guys who really found himself during high school. His body filled out and he actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had. Sometimes I was jealous!
“Today was one of those days, but he was also my friend and I could see 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).
“ ‘Thanks.’ He cleared his throat, and started his speech, ‘Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through these 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’m going to tell you a story."
“My friend told the story of the first day we met. He said he was despondent and even thinking about killing himself over the weekend. He’d cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. His gaze cut to me and he gave me a little smile. ‘Thankfully, a 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. His Mom and Dad looked at me with that same grateful smile.
“In that moment I realized the depth of my kind act.
“Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. God puts us all in each others’ lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others. ‘Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.’ There is no beginning or end. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today’s a gift. Show your friends how much you care.’
“I believe lives can be shaped by small kindnesses we pass along. I hope this will be one of those kind touches for you today.”
How about you? If you’d like to share a moment where you reached out to someone or someone affected your life in a positive way, please leave a comment. Thanks. -- Brenda Davis