I’ll always remember a story one of my teachers told us once during class, back in my junior year of high school, which has stayed stuck in my mind ever since.
When my teacher was in the seventh grade he knew a boy his age who rode the same bus as him. As he recalls, the boy didn’t have very many friends, and was often picked on during the day. And from what my teacher’s parents had told him, the boy didn’t have the best life at home either.
Supposedly, after yet another day of bullying and harassment from his peers, the boy decided that he’d had enough. That night at home, he discovered that the next day, his father would have to work a late shift, and his mother and sister would be out shopping until dinner time. With the house to himself for a few hours, the boy decided that it would be the perfect time to end his life.
The next morning, before he left for school he wrote a short letter to his family that he would leave behind for them, telling of the bullying he faced every day at school, and that while he didn’t always feel appreciated or cared for at home, he still loved them all. He put his backpack on, shoved the letter in his pocket and headed to the bus stop like he did every morning.
Except this morning was different. Already standing at the bus stop was a girl he’d never seen before. When he reached the stop she smiled and introduced herself to him. She asked him his name, how long he’d been going to their school for, what his family was like, what he liked to do for fun. When the bus came he got on first and found his usual seat at the back, sure that he’d never see or hear from the girl ever again.
But she followed him to the back and sat down next to him, eager to carry on their conversation. And the boy experienced something he thought he never would.
He was sharing a seat with someone.
When they reached the school, they went to the office to find out what classes she would have. When they found out that most of her’s were with the boy, she was ecstatic. While he wasn’t sure why she liked him so much, he couldn’t help but feel a little excited too.
Whenever they had a class together, she made sure to find a seat by him, and when they didn’t, he found himself anticipating the next one together. When lunch came around, he started to make his way to his table in the corner of the cafeteria, but didn’t get far. He saw her waving him over to a table across the room, a side of the cafeteria he’d never even been to. He saw that the table she was at was almost full, and realized that she made friends fast. But he noticed an empty seat that she had saved for him, and by the end of lunch, he had made six new friends.
Later that day on the bus ride home, he had found her already in his seat, waiting to tell him all about her first day, and wanting to know all about his.
When they got off the bus, she said how she knew they’d be best friends, and left with a “see ya later!”, leaving him smiling all the way back home, something he hadn’t done in a long time. For once, he wasn’t going to dread the next day of school.
And he forgot all about the letter.
Be the reason for someone’s smile. A small act of kindness can have a big impact on someone else’s life.
“You take away all the other luxuries in life, and if you can make someone smile and laugh, you have given the most special gift: happiness.” – Brad Garrett