The following story has been circulating on the Internet for a while. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s fiction. But the message is powerful. The author is unknown. While I’m not a professional editor, the story did seem to need a bit of editing. So, the following is my edited version . .
One day as a freshman in high school I noticed a kid from my class walking home from school. Later, I leaned his name was Kyle. He appeared to be carrying every one of his school books. I thought, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on Friday? He must really be a nerd.”
I had quite a weekend planned—parties and a football game with friends tomorrow afternoon—so I shrugged my shoulders and walked on. That was when I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They barged into him, scattering his books and dumping him into the dirt. His glasses flew off and landed in the grass about ten feet away.
He looked up with a terrible sadness, resisting the tears that formed anyhow. My heart went out to him. As he crawled around looking for his glasses I jogged over, found his glasses and handed them to him. “Those guys are jerks. They really should get a life,” I said.
He looked up at me and, with a big smile that showed real gratitude, said, “Hey thanks!” I helped him pick up his books and asked where he lived.
As it turned out, he lived nearby. So I asked why I had never seen him before. He said that, until now, he had gone to a private school. 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 a little football with my friends. He agreed. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. My friends felt the same.
Monday morning there was Kyle with that huge stack of books again. I said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books to carry.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began talking about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. He planned to become a doctor. I was going for a business degree on a football scholarship. But I knew that we would always be friends. The miles apart would never be a problem.
Kyle was valedictorian of our high school class. He deserved it but I teased him all the time about being a nerd. Naturally, he had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was just glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day came. Kyle looked great. Over the years he had filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He was one of those guys who really found themselves during high school.
All the girls loved him. He had more dates than I did. Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days—except for the speech.
Kyle was obviously 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 his really grateful smiles and said, “Thanks.”
When it came time for his speech, he cleared his throat and began . . . “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 can say to all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. And, I want to tell you a story.”
I looked at my friend Kyle with disbelief as he told about the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later. That’s why he had all those books.
He glanced my way and gave me a little smile, “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”
A gasp swept through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told all about his weakest moment in life. His mom and dad looked at me with that same grateful smile I had seen so often on Kyle. Until that moment I had not realized its depth.
So, never underestimate the power of your actions. With a single small gesture you can literally change a person’s life—for better or for worse. It’s fair to say that God puts us on this earth to impact other people’s lives in some noble way.
Look for God in others. Look for the good. Compliment them. Encourage them.
Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. Galatians 6:10 (New Living Translation)