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One day when I was still a freshman in high school,
I saw a kid from my class walking home from school.
His name was Kyle and it looked like he was carrying
all his books on a Friday. He must be a nerd I thought.

I had quite a weekend planned - parties,
a football game with a friend the next day,
so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running towards Kyle,
they ran into him, knocking him down, his glasses went flying
and he landed in the dirt with all his books scattered around him.
He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.
My heart went out to him. So I jogged over to him
and as he crawled around looking for his glasses,

I saw a tear in his eye.
As I handed him his glasses, I said,
Those guys are jerks; they should really get lives.
He looked at me and said, Hey thanks!
There was a big smile on his face.
It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.
As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.
He said he had gone to private school before now.
I would never have hung out with a private school kid before.
We talked all the way home and I carried his books.

He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.
I asked him if he wanted to play football
on Saturday with me and my friends.
He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the
more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him.
My friends thought the same of him too.

Monday morning came and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.
I stopped him and said, Boy, you are gonna really build
up some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday
He just laughed and handed me half of the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.
When we were seniors, we began to think about college.
Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke.
I knew that we would always be friends,
that the miles would never be a problem.
He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class.
I teased him all the time about being a nerd.
He had to prepare a speech for graduation,
and I was glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, I saw Kyle and he looked great.
He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.
He had filled out and actually looked good in glasses.
He had more dates than I did and all the girls loved him!
Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech,
so I smacked him on the back and said,
Hey, big guy, you'll be great.
He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.
Thanks, he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat and began.
Graduation is a time to thank those who help you make it through those tough years.
Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach, but mostly your friends.
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.

I am going to tell you a story.
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met.
He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.
He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his
Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.
He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.
Thankfully, I was saved; my friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome,
popular boy told us all bout his weakest moment.
I saw his Mom and Dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.
Not until that moment did I realize its depth.

Never under-estimate the power of your actions,
with one small gesture you can change a person's life.
For better or for worse,
God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way.
Look for Jesus in others.

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Amanda Martin-Shaver