At the risk of embarrassing a friend, I want to share something I wrote recently. Rusty is a friend to many and has had immeasurable positive influence during his life, but I didn’t know him at the beginning of this story.
During the third grade, I had Rheumatic Fever and missed the last half of the school year. My parents made sure I had a tutor, but we decided it would be best for me to repeat third grade. All my friends moved on to fourth grade. At the beginning of the next school year, I felt lost walking alone on the playground and dribbling a red kickball. Rusty and a friend of his, Mark, came up and asked if I’d like to play basketball with them. They were my first new friends that year.
A few years ago, I mentioned this incident to Rusty and could tell he didn’t remember it. I thought it must have been because he did kind things so often. How could he possibly recall them all?
I’m sharing this simple story and poem in hopes that students will follow Rusty’s example. Who knows? Maybe some of their acts of kindness and friendship will be remembered for years to come.
Being a friend when a friend was most needed
was so natural a part of who he was.
Years later, he had no memory of that crucial
day when kindness was shown to a schoolmate on
a dusty playground.
He had no idea of the weight his friendship might carry.
He had no thought of self-serving motives, or earning merit with his creator.
He could not see at that time how a kind act would result in lifelong admiration.
I guess that’s how it is for people who are truly kind to the core.
There is so much goodness that it often comes out unrecognized and without fanfare.
It’s just the essence of who they are.