The power of your actions


The law of unintended consequences is as applicable to human nature as it is to science.  We recently received this story of a young man and the results of his simple act of friendship:

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 of 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 on Saturday afternoon—so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running towards him.  They knocked all of his books out of his arms and tripped him so he landed in the dirt.  His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him.  As he looked up, I saw terrible sadness in his eyes.  My heart went out to him.  I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.  As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks.  They should really get lives.”
He looked at me and 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 and asked him where he lived.  As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I hadn’t seen him before.  He said he had gone to private school before now.
We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.  He turned out to be a pretty cool kid, and we hung out all weekend.  The more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends all felt the same.  Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.
Since Kyle was the valedictorian of our class, he had to prepare a speech for graduation.  I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak!  Kyle was one of those guys who had really found himself during high school.  He’d filled out and actually looked good in glasses.  He’d also had more dates than I had, and all of the girls loved him.
I could tell he was nervous about the speech, so I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!”
“Thanks,” he replied.
A few minutes later, he cleared his throat and began his speech.
“Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through the tough years—your parents, your siblings, maybe a coach . . . but mostly your friends.  I am here to tell you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give.  I’d like to tell you a story.”
I listened in disbelief as my best friend told the story of the day we met.  He had planned to kill himself over that weekend.  He spoke about how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later . . . that was why he was carrying so much stuff home.
Kyle added, “Thankfully, I was saved.  My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”
I heard a gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.  I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling the same grateful smile Kyle often displayed.  It was only then that I realized its depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions.  With one small gesture, you can truly change a person’s life—for better or for worse.


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