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During the Christmas Season (Advent), we read stories of inspiration at the dinner table. We read “Kyle’s Story” every year. And every year, this story brings me to tears (good tears), as it reminds me that all of us have the power to change the lives of others.





One day, as we walked home from school, I noticed a kid from my class (Kyle) walking in front of me. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I remember thinking to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.”

Then I began to think about the fun-filled weekend that I had planned, which included a party & football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon. As I continued my journey home, I saw a bunch of kids running toward Kyle. I watched as they knocked him to the ground, causing all of his books to go flying out of his arms. As Kyle landed in the dirt, his glasses flew off his face & landed about ten feet away. As he crawled around looking for his glasses, I could see real sadness in his face and tears in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. I jogged over & grabbed the glasses from the ground. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks.” He looked at me and said, “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. As I carried his books, we talked all the way home. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid, so I invited him to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. We ended up hanging out all weekend.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with that huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Damn boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books every day!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Kyle and I hung out constantly & became best friends. Kyle really found himself during high school--he had a large group of friends, had more dates than me (the girls loved him), and he was senior class valedictorian (smart & popular).

On graduation day I could see that Kyle was nervous about his valedictorian 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 helped 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 looked at Kyle with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He talked about how he had planned to kill himself over the weekend & had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later, which is why he was carrying all his stuff home. He looked hard at me as he said “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 about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and Dad looking at me, with that same grateful smile.

MORAL: Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small loving gesture you can change a person’s life. We are here to impact the world!

ORIGINS: The story has been re-written numerous times with many version published on the internet. That said, it is best viewed as a parable meant to illustrate the power of kindness. Originally published in the 1993 bestseller Chicken Soup for the Soul.

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