I believe in making a difference, in all the little things. In taking time to hold the door for someone, or in waving to your neighbors. I believe in writing letters and sending flowers. I believe that all these things effect people everyday, and I believe they make me who I am. I believe that in our world people are far too busy to take time to acknowledge those around us. We live in a world that is always trying to make thinks quicker, faster, better. When we are constantly trying to pack more into our already hectic lives, no one realizes that if we could slow down for just a second, life would be much sweeter. I live in the present world, but also slip into my world of books. I have found that in the world we create on paper today, people are far more sincere and kind hearted then we are in reality. It’s ironic that we cannot be these kind of people in our daily lives, but strive to become them in the world we create. Well I for one, would like to take a minute to stop time, and realize what life is truly about. I came to this wisdom from one simply amazing old man, a small note, and a pocket watch. It’s honestly one of the most important things that has ever happened to me, and I will never forget it.
When I was fifteen I stayed at my grandmothers apartment for two weeks. She lived in a complex that was mostly inhabited by elderly people. It was quite boring to say the least, and I had few things to do during the day. I began filling my day with things I had never done before. Watching the news, eating breakfast outside, and the most important, reading the paper. After getting the paper one morning I was making my way to the elevator. Just as I pushed the button and began to walk on, I saw an elderly man with a cane coming behind me. I held the elevator door to make sure it wouldn’t close and waited for him. He looked surprised, smiled a bit, and then kept walking on. When he finally got to me, I smiled and said good morning. He smiled and told me that ever since he lost his looks pretty girls rarely ever notice him anymore. I laughed, a little surprised in this old man’s wit and personality. I soon sunk into our conversation, and it felt completely comfortable by the time I got off.
Every morning we would go get our papers and sometimes get coffee together. I learned that this man’s name was Eddie, I learned about his whole family, his wife that had passed away many years earlier, and all of his grandchildren. I told him about school and my friends, about my grandmother and my college plans. I divulged my cold fear about college into him, something I had never done before. I told him how afraid I was, not about college itself, but being on my own. I talked and he listened, giving a few words of wisdom. I guess you could say we became friends, because he didn’t really have anyone else, and I enjoyed his company so much.
Two weeks flew by, and on that last morning I was walking out with my bags to go home. I saw Eddie sitting at one of the little tables as usual, brushing his fingers on the side of his chair while humming that same old tune. I then realized he was holding a little white box ever so gently in his other hand. It was wrapped with a red bow glistened in the sun. I walked over, he said nothing, just handed me the box. He told me not to open it until I was in the car. I started to tell him I’d miss him but he quickly cut me off, put his hand on my shoulder, then told me he didn’t cry in front of pretty girls so it’d have to be a quick goodbye. He reached out to shake my hand, because the old softy didn’t like hugs. I bluntly ignored this and wrapped my arms around his stomach. I breathed in his deep cigar smell, holding it as long as I could…then slowly moved away. I smiled and said nothing, we both knew there were no needed words. I walked over to the car, and slowly got in. As we drove away I could see him getting smaller and smaller, and eventually I turned back around and opened the box. I looked inside and saw gold sparkling around white cotton. It was a little pin on watch with blue, purple, and green stones around the gold frame. It was absolutely beautiful. He left a note that said it had belonged to his wife, and that she would have wanted the girl that had made him smile for the first time in years to have it. I read it several times, finally letting the full meaning hit me. I folded the note up carefully and placed it and the watch back in the box .
My mind started to wander to that first day I met Eddie, to me it was just an extra second of holding the door, but to Eddie it was a so much more than that. I began to marvel at the fact that just by simply holding the door, I had changed someone’s life. That’s when I realized everyone can make a difference. No matter how old, everyone can do something to change a persons life. Eddie may not know this, but he changed my life too. I was far to ignorant and young to realize that life is more than tests, boys, and what I was wearing that day. He opened my eyes to the better half of our world, the kinder half. And I did the same for him. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, in fact, a small thing like this can mean just as much. There’s no better time then right now to get out there and start making people smile, and you never know… that smile could save someone’s life, this I believe.