Joe, a freshman in high school, saw Kyle, a boy from his class walking home from school. It looked as if Kyle was carrying all of his books. Joe thought to himself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd." He had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with his friends Saturday afternoon), so he shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As Kyle was walking, Joe saw a group of boys running toward Kyle. 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 with this terrible sadness in his eyes.
Joe's heart went out to Kyle. So, he jogged over to him and as Kyle crawled around looking for his glasses, saw a tear in his eye. Joe handed him his glasses, and said, "Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives." Kyle looked at Joe and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. Hoe then helped Kyle pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.
As it turned out, he lived near Joe, who asked him why he had never seen him before. Kyle said that he had gone to private school before now. Joe, who would have never hung out with a private school student before, talked all way home, and carried Kyle's books. He turned out to be a pretty cool dude.
Joe asked Kyle if he wanted to play football on Saturday with him and his friends. He said yes, and they hung out all weekend and the more Joe got to know Kyle, the more he liked him. And his friends thought the same of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. Joe stopped him and said, "Damn boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!" Kyle just laughed and handed Joe half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and Joe became best friends. When they were seniors, they began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and Joe was going to Duke, knowing that they would always be friends, and that the miles would never be a problem. Kyle was going to be a doctor, and Joe was going to study business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of the class and had to prepare a speech for graduation. Joe teased him all the time about being a nerd and was so glad it wasn't him having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, Joe saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than Joe and all the girls loved him! Sometimes Joe was jealous.
This day was one of those days. Joe could see that Kyle was nervous about his speech. So, he smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!" Kyle looked at Joe with one of those looks (the 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 them. I am going to tell you a story."
Joe just looked at his friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day they met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mum wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at Joe and gave him a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable."
Joe heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told the audience all about his weakest moment. Joe saw Kyle's Mum and Dad looking at him and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did he realise 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. The cosmos puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way. Look for love in others. Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.