I believe in the goodness of the human race.
May 7th, 2006 is a date I will remember for the rest of my life. Why? Because it is a day when I lost an amazing friend to a late night car accident. I remember it all perfectly: it was a Sunday morning, and I awoke to the smell of my mother’s homemade blueberry muffins. The Sadie Hawkins dance took place the night before, and today was bound to be a good day. As I prepared my first plate of muffins, the phone rang. A few seconds into it, my mom had begun feverishly crying, causing my tear ducts to swell up terribly as well. My mind was frantically jumping from thoughts of my dad to her dad to my brother to my friends, and then she broke the news to me – Mark was dead and Josh was in a coma in the hospital.
Being physically unable to move, I had my mom drive me to school where everyone was congregating to mourn the loss of a dear friend. Once my foot hit the blacktop of the parking lot, I realized that I had to be strong for everyone else, and so I put on a smile and went around to everyone I could see, consoling most everyone with my words and loving hugs. I even ended up breaking down at one point and found, to my surprise, that many people were willing to help. I realized that day just how intrinsically good every person is.
Since that day, I have been doing small things of the same sort every single day. I hold doors open for people who are more than just a few steps behind me; I push in chairs in the lunch room that would get in some unsuspecting student’s way; I refill the toilet paper when it’s empty; I wipe up ketchup from a seat that my friend would never have known he would have sat in.
These small, effortless things that I do for others make me contemplate how many of these same things are done for me. I cannot even start to fathom how many pushed in chairs or wiped seats some other good patron of the human race did without knowing it would effect me. Because of this, I believe – no, I know – that there are many good people in the world. As with the former secretary of state Warren Christopher, I also believe that “there are moments when one must rely on… others.” I’m sure most of the people from that dismal day in my life probably don’t remember me smiling or the small reassurances I gave them about the future, but that’s not what matters. Knowing that I made someone else’s life a bit easier is all the gratification I need.
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