There are times in our lives that we look back on and think, “maybe I should have done this,” or “would it have mattered if I had stayed quiet instead?” Standing up for someone else can be a scary thing. We normally don’t like to stand out from the crowd or cause big commotions, especially when we know that all eyes will be on us. We don’t face these choices everyday, but when they pop up in our lives, how we handle them shapes who we become as people. Read this story, and think about what you would have done in her place. Maybe you did something similar to this when you were in school.
I knew a kid in high school that never spoke. I was kind of a loner myself. He sat alone at lunch, and I didn’t have anyone to sit with so I just quietly ate with him every day.
I soon noticed he was in a lot of my classes and I started sitting with him. When he thought no one was looking he would smile at jokes or start to doodle, but as soon as he knew someone was watching he would go blank.
Naturally, kids started picking on him a little, trying to get him to talk or asking him why he never spoke. None of it seemed to phase him and he would just shrug or smile.
But what really got me mad was when the teachers would draw attention to him. When they would call roll, they would pause at him sometimes and poke fun at how he wasn’t going to answer. He would go really still when this happened.
One day, I snapped at a teacher to “leave him the —– alone! If you feel the need to look cool in front of a bunch of high-schoolers by making fun of a kid, then you’re a pathetic person!”
I’ll never forget the way he looked at me when I was sent to the office. He had his mouth open like he wanted to say something.
At the office, a counselor sat with me and explained that his father died in Afghanistan and he hasn’t spoken to anyone but his mom since.
I learned a lot about people from him. I learned how cruel they can be, I learned how kind and compassionate they can be. But the thing I learned from him that was the most valuable was the power of listening.
I tried to take my life in November of that year, and I was gone for a few weeks. The entire school totally knew because my brother had told a few of his friends. I was a stupid teenager who didn’t realize the value of her own life.
When I got back, the quiet boy was waiting by my locker.
He said “hi.”
I thought it was someone else, but he gave me a quick hug and said “hi” again.
It was the most meaningful thing anyone had said to me during that time.
I cried a little and after that he began to speak to me really quietly. It was little things at first, like “hello,” or “goodbye,” but soon he was asking how my day was and before I knew it, he was rolling in laughter at my dumb jokes.
He knew more about me than anyone else just because he took the time to listen.
After I graduated, I moved. I still wonder about him almost every day.
The original author stated in a comment that thanks to social media, she was able to track him down and get his address. She is planning to write him a letter! How sweet! Being brave when someone is being mistreated is a powerful thing, and I’m glad this story ended well.
If it hadn’t been for the kindness of the outspoken girl, this story might have ended in real tragedy. She changed his life…and in the end, he changed hers, too! I hope that they are able to reunite and connect again.
To see more inspiring videos, articles, and uplifting content, check out Happy Tango every day! If you loved what you saw here then like and share this with the links below!