This isn’t my story; it’s a translation of this Facebook post.
One day, in my first year of high school, I saw a classmate walking on his way home after school. His name was Maurice. He seemed to be carrying absolutely all his books. I told myself that he must be an idiot to carry all that, especially on a Friday.
I didn’t think much of it, so I minded my business, then I saw a bunch of kids run towards Maurice. They dropped all his books, made him fall and lose his glasses. While he was standing up, I could see sadness in his eyes. My heart was breaking.
I ran towards him. While helping him get his glasses and books, I saw a drop of tear on his cheek and I told him: “Those guys are jerks. They should be punished for what they did.”
“Thank you”, he replied, looking at me.
He had a big smile on his face, full of sincere gratitude.
I asked where he lived and realized that we were on the same street. I asked why I never saw him before and he answered: “Before, I went to a private school.”
Before this, I would never have hung out with someone from a private school. We talked the whole way home and I carried some of his books. I realized he was a very nice person and I invited him to come play with my friends the next day and he accepted.
We spent the weekend together. The more I got to know him, the more I liked him and my friends also liked him.
Monday morning, on the way to school, I saw Maurice with all his books again. I joined him and said: “You’ll have great muscles if you keep carrying all your books every day.”
He smiled at me and gave me half his books. Maurice and I became the best friends in the world.
A few years later, we were finishing high school and were making plans for university. Maurice was the best student and he was getting into medicine while I was getting into a sports-study program. He was one of those who had found themselves during high school. He had more dates with girls than I did. They liked him and I was a little jealous.
Prior to leaving, parents, teachers, students and friends were gathering. He had prepared a speech, but he was very nervous. I gave him a pat on the back to encourage him and said: “Hey, you’ll be great!”
He gave me a sincere look and said: “Thanks!”
He began his speech: “This is a good time to be grateful to those who helped us go through difficult moments: parents, teachers, etc and especially friends. I am here to tell you that to be someone’s friends is to give a person the best possible gift. Let me tell you a story about this.”
I looked at Maurice, stupefied, when he recounted the first day we met. He had planned to commit suicide that weekend. He had emptied his locker, because he didn’t want his mother to have to do it. He looked at me straight in the eyes and smiled: “Thank you for saving me. My friend protected me and kept me from making an enormous mistake.”
Everybody was speechless while Maurice, the most handsome and most popular guy in school, was talking about his saddest memories. I noticed his parents looking at me with the same grateful smile Maurice had. In that moment, I realized all the sadness he felt the day we met. It wasn’t only because of that bunch of kids.
Don’t underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture, you can change a life, for better or for worse. Friends are angels that keep us on our feet when we have trouble flying with our wings.