I believe in being kind to others

Elizabeth - Englewood, Colorado
Entered on March 13, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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Throughout my life I’ve tried to be nice to other people. Making others happy always seems to make me happy too. I feel if I do something unnecessarily hurtful that it will come back to haunt me in some way. Not too long ago, I experienced an unfortunate event that solidified my belief in practicing kindness towards others.

I had been on a ski team for a while, and had made several close friends. Most of them were athletic, cool people who would crack lewd jokes. All of my close friends on the team were within one or two years of my age. When Patrick joined the team, he was younger than our group, and there were few team members around his age.

Unlike the rest of us, Patrick was overweight, particularly for a ski racer, and would rather read than hang out with his teammates. For this, he was mercilessly made-fun of by my friends, me included. After two years of openly teasing him, I realized how immature and cruel it was. While we had all been teasing him, I never thought about how he felt, just how fun it was to poke fun at someone else with my friends.

The last few years I knew Patrick, I stopped joining in with my other teammates. Younger skiers had joined the team, and were relentless in their pranks and insults. Whenever they picked on him, some of the older team members and I would then spring to his defense. The two of us became good friends, we’d cast the bad memories from the past aside.

Then I had to move and leave all my teammates behind. My family sent and received Christmas cards from Patrick’s family the year after we left. As I went skiing the weekend after New Years, I thought of my old teammates. I knew most of them had a race that weekend, and would be having as much fun as I was.

Upon coming back home, my mother smashed that happy idea to bits. Patrick had crashed into the woods while skiing. Two hours later, while I had been blissfully skiing down the slopes, Patrick died in an ambulance. When I heard the news, all I could feel was sadness. If I had felt differently about young boy losing his life, I would be a pretty heartless person. After that I realized how short life is; one wrong turn can literally lead to an ill-fated demise.

As I still miss my friend, I know that the last few times I saw him his life was brighter and happier. I don’t believe that having been kinder to Patrick will come to benefit me on any “judgment day.” Perhaps if I followed a religion, by being kind to other people I could rest assured that I’d see my friend another time. Instead I see that with the life everyone has now, by being good instead of hurtful, I can make the life of someone else better.