In school I grew up with a boy named Jared. He wasn’t exactly the normal weight of most growing teens. He was the kid that always got picked on because of the way he looked. In this particular case it was his weight. In gym class or on the football team he was not the fastest kid and in the lunch line he got the most food. People pointed their fingers and laughed.
I had always known who Jared was but never had a class with him or talked to him. Sophomore year of high school we had study hall together. We sat near each other. Every once in a while I would glance over toward where Jared sat. I felt bad that he didn’t have any friends in our study hall so I began to talk to him. After talking to him for a couple of weeks, we became more than just acquaintances. I realized that he was more than just an overweight kid to poke fun at. He was someone humorous, entertaining to talk to, and caring.
We got to know more about each other. I told him about my family and what I liked to do and he told me about what his life was like at home where he never really got attention. He told me that all he felt like doing was going home, sitting in front of the television and eating for the rest of the afternoon to forget about what people said to him. I learned how often people teased and made fun of him. He told me that he tried to cover up how much it hurt. He told me about how Jeffery, his counselor, was not helping his problem and how sometimes he could not stand the pain of his depression.
When I heard this, it absolutely broke my heart. I could not imagine growing up and being tormented for the way I look. I knew that I needed to do something to change his life if no one else could. I did not know how far I would get, but it was worth a shot.
As I continued to talk to Jared, I gave him the friendship and advice I thought that all people should have. I was able to make him understand that there was such a thing as caring and trustworthy people. I helped him out to the point where he did not need his depression counselor anymore.
After a while, kids at our school began to notice our friendship and they themselves started to talk to Jared more. They saw in him what I saw. Different people were noticing him and treating him with the kindness he deserved in the first place. I believe that kindness is a chain reaction.
Still, today, Jared is one of my best friends. I am so thankful for our friendship.
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