Gregory Sare Landolt (gregoid) wrote,
Gregory Sare Landolt
gregoid

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The little things

Do we truly know how much we impact each other's lives? I have asked myself this question many times, but I don't think I truly thought about the magnitude of impact that I, or anyone for that matter, make on the lives of others.

The easy interactions to see are family, friends, and all other loved ones. Now what about the person you helped up after slipping on ice? They might have been having a really bad day and just the kindness you showed could have made their day. What about the change you gave to the panhandler? Sure, he might have bought booze with the money, but that booze could have warmed him enough to make it through the cold of night. Giving a smile to a child that gave her the comfort that everything was going to be all right. That driver you let squeeze in front of you in heavy traffic, which reduced his level of road rage.

Little forgotten gestures of kindness and goodwill can mean more than you might be aware of.

I received this next part in an email a couple of years ago and every time I read it, it brings tears to my eyes. It is so appropriate that I wanted to include it here.

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 friend 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 landed 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, I saw a tear in his eye. I handed him his glasses and said, "Those guys are really jerks. They should get lives" He looked at me, 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, 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 be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with my friends and me. 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, "Damn boy, you are really gonna build some serious muscles with this pile of books ever day." 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; 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 about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school, 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 went back and said "Hey big guy, you'll be great". He looked at me with one of those looks (really grateful one) and smiled "Thanks" he said.

As he started 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 am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give him or her. 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 a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable." I heard the gasp go through 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 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.
Tags: helping hand
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