This I Believe

Alyssa - Canton, Michigan
Entered on February 25, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

I believe in human kindness.

There was a teacher that I had for two classes in high school who had cerebral palsy. This is the result of damage to the brain due to lack of oxygen prior to or shortly after birth. My teacher had trouble walking and he had to work extra hard to remember things because of this disorder. He was also considered one of the toughest teachers at my high school.

One of this teacher’s favorite movies was “Pay It Forward” where an 11-year-old boy is given an assignment to come up with an idea to change the world and put it into action. His idea was Pay It Forward where you do a large favor for three people then they do a large favor for three people until everyone in the world is helped. This idea touched my teacher and one thing he asked us to do for his Interpersonal Communications class that semester was to pay it forward.

I often thought of doing something big but I never really came up with anything worthy. Everyone would talk about little things they were doing and it just seemed like it wasn’t enough to touch everyone’s lives.

Another lesson he taught deals with the movie Tuesdays With Morrie, which is based on the book by Mitch Albom. He really wanted to teach the book but the school board wouldn’t buy a class set for him. That was when I knew what my pay it forward would be. I was going to buy him the class set of books of Tuesdays With Morrie.

I looked online to see how much it would be and I realized I needed help to pay for the 35 books. I wrote up a letter to the class saying that I was going to purchase a class set of Tuesdays With Morrie and if everyone could pay me seven dollars then we too could pay it forward. The response was immediate and I was able to purchase the books.

As the date that we were going to give our teacher the books drew near, we all were feeling nervous about his reaction. Thirty-five people keeping a big secret like that for a month was a miracle in itself and exchanging money shadily everyday was hard to keep from the teacher. I had convinced myself that he knew what was going on. I arranged for the office to drop off the package a little before class was over and I was the most nervous I had ever been in my entire life. He was so surprised that he didn’t even know what to say. I told him all he had to do was pay it forward.

I believe in the kindness of people because of this story. I know that my teacher will pay it forward and that the people in this particular class were heroes. They paid it forward to our teacher and really showed me how kind people can be. I believe in human kindness because by helping someone the way that class did was more than extraordinary.