21. I hope you're doing well too
I worked in a local homemade ice cream store for about 4 years. We are were very busy and had many regular customers that came in very often. One I remember the most, he would come in every Monday and Wednesday. I will refer to him as "Double Vanilla, Marsh Mellow Topping Guy". He would come in twice a week ever since I started working there. I opened and left before the late afternoon when it got [busy], so my usual customers would come in fairly early. It was great because I had time to chit chat and see how they were doing.
Double Vanilla Marsh Mellow Topping Guy suddenly stopped coming in for about 6 months, until he finally stopped in once and we talked for awhile on how things were. I gave him his ice cream and he whipped out this yellow envelope. He told me not to open it until he left. Once he was gone I opened it up and there was a note and a golden horseshoe with golden nails. It explained how he got sick many years ago and did not like where his life was going. He got better and began making these horseshoes, numbering them, and giving them to people he met as a memory and to show the appreciation of how they have affected him. It was really amazing and I really cherish the golden horseshoe. It has made 3 moves with me always being place above my front door and being sure to never let it fall down.
Double Vanilla, Marsh Mellow Topping Guy wherever you are I hope you're doing well.
22. Kids are always the best at spreadin' the love
I am a school bus driver, and have been for over 5 years. Every year, I usually end up with a great rapport with my kids--this year, my elementary school group (9 and 10 year olds) were my favorites, always telling me stuff about their day, making jokes, toeing the line a little more than they ever would with other adults. I always tried to talk to them like adults when I could, and never had to write referrals for any of my kids this year. Today was the last day of school, and I had two of the kids' parents tell me that their children talk about me all the time, and that my friendship means a lot to them.
Kids I drove when I started 5 years ago still wave at me and call me by my name, and that feels awesome--that I made a positive impact on a kid's life. I don't get paid a whole helluva lot to do what I do, which is basically to pilot a huge, hot, 20-ton vehicle with the lives of upwards of 40 children's lives in my hands on a daily basis, but it's compliments and recognition like that that make it the best job I've ever had. Thank your bus drivers, guys. We don't do it for the money, we do it for the kids.
23. The little things...
When I was 4, I was very sick. I was hospitalized and out of preschool for a month. It was bad but, in the end, everything was fine. Shortly after, my family moved so I never returned to that preschool.
12 YEARS LATER and I'm visiting some friends at their high school. A girl comes running up to me and goes "Oh my god!" To my knowledge, I had never seen her before so I simply responded "Yeah, I'm sorry do I know you?"
She looks at me and says "We went to preschool together. I remember when you were in the hospital, the entire class made Get Well Soon cards. I didn't fully understand so my parents sat me down and explained to me then what death was. I was so scared for you that I cried for days. I'm so glad you're ok!" Then she hugged me. Apparently, because I inadvertently introduced her to the concept of death and survival, it allowed her to deal with other tragedies she came across early in life.
24. The power of forgiveness
In middle school there was a kid who was found out to have a mis-shaped penis. He got an erection in the shower after gym class and someone noticed him trying to hide it in the corner. So this person was telling us all afterwards. After hearing his description I said, "Oh, so it looks like a boot?" Innocent enough question.
I swear to God by high school people didn't even know his real first name. Everyone called him Boot. What a horrible nickname. Boot. The kid's entire being was discounted because he had a crooked penis. No one took him seriously. No one cared what he had to say; his talents, his mind meant nothing. He was just a walking punchline. People are cruel. I felt terrible for a long time because, well, down there somewhere I think I really do have a conscience. I had no idea what the consequences of my little nick name would be.
So one night in college, after an afternoon/night of passionate drinking, I hopped on MSN Messenger to chat and saw he was on. I wrote this giant apology letter. Poured my heart out, basically. I'm sorry it happened, I'm sorry I started it, I feel like a piece of [crap]. God I was [terrible] during puberty. It had been nagging me for a while - that I needed to make amends with this guy.
Finally, a couple nights later I log in to my computer and he's written just a few sentences. "I can't tell you what that means to me. I know you probably did it for your own closure, but now I've got mine, too. I haven't really spoken to anyone about all that stuff. I was in a very dark place through those years, and though I was given a new opportunity to start fresh in college it's been tough, as you can imagine. We were young, and young people do some terrible things without understanding why they are terrible. All the best."
That guy's maturity was light years ahead of mine. Or any of ours, for that matter. I feel like I did a small good deed by trying to make amends, but he reciprocated an even better one: he gave me a whole new perspective on people.