This I Believe

Barry - Williamstown, New Jersey
Entered on October 6, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that one person not only can but does make a difference, weather they know it or not.

September 1978 my freshman year in high school, during study hall in the library I was flipping through an old yearbook when I spotted it, a group picture of the Photo Club, man that was for me. I had and old twin lens Yashica 127 roll film camera given to me by my sister and her husband a few years before, I loved taking pictures. After class had ended I went straight to the office to sign up, but the nice lady told me the Photo Club had disbanded a few years back due to lack of interest. Noting my disappointment the nice lady informed me the faculty advisor to the club was Robert McKenzie (Mac) the metal shop teacher and he usually stayed late, if went down there I could catch him.

I found his classroom at the other end of the building his shop and office door were open, and if I remember correctly he was sitting at his desk smoking his pipe (it was a simpler time back then) I stepped into his office and introduced myself. I explained that I had seen Photo Club Group Photo and wanted to join,

He said without hesitation “it’ll only be you and me”

I said “OK”

He then asks what afternoon I’d like to meet, I picked Tuesdays’ and so it began.

The entire exchange took no more then 30 seconds if that, but it changed my life. Of course I didn’t know at the time just how much that exchange affected me but as I look back I recognize how a stranger put the desires of an equally unknown child at the top of his list of important things. In that single moment one person “Mac” made a profound difference in my life and because of it today I rarely if every turn down someone’s request for assistance or teaching or guidance. When someone takes the time to seek you out and request something of you it may be in everyone’s best interest to oblige. That afternoon Mac said yes, you’re important and what you want to know I can teach you. I became the Photo Club, by years end we had 4 members the next year 6. By my junior year Mac was letting me teach and offering our services throughout the school. I graduated high school, received a scholarship to attended Photography school, and became a professional photographer.

We’ll never know what would have happened if Mac had said no. I may have still become a photographer or not, I may have still possessed a desire and willingness to help others or not. But we’ll never know…

So when a stranger approaches with a request, be careful, your response may change that persons life forever, one way or another