I Believe in Strangers

Nicole - Orchard Park, New York
Entered on February 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in strangers. I believe in the kindness of strangers. I believe that strangers can become your best friends. I have experienced this and it has changed my life.

This summer I was at the airport with forty other people about to depart for Europe. Here I was about to go to another country with a group of complete strangers. At this point I couldn’t decide which was more foreign, the country or the people. I learned that they were all high school students from Western New York but they were all different ages, came from different schools, and had different cultures and ethnicities. I couldn’t understand how I was going to relate to everyone, much less spend every minute with them for the next 20 days.

Once I got on the airplane I started talking to people and I realized we had a lot in common. They were human. They laughed and smiled just like everyone else I knew. We talked about our families and friends and I thought this might not be so hard after all.

Over the next twenty days I learned that these people weren’t unlike me. We all reached out to make a connection with each other. I would sit next to someone new on the bus each day as we traveled and I would room with another person each night. The trip became easier because I saw that these people were no longer strangers, they were my friends.

We all became familiar to each other and I would wake up each morning anticipating another day with everyone. The bus rides could last as long as six hours. We would pass around food, laugh at the same time while watching a movie, and talk comfortably with each other. I realized that not only were these people my friends, they were now like family to me.

This trip started as a group of forty strangers and ended as a family of forty. I learned how strangers can become friends and then become family. I believe that meeting a stranger can change your life for the better. There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet. This I believe.