I wouldn’t call myself a great person. I don’t even consider myself an exceptional person. I’m just…. well, me. But, as I was reading about a thing called Giraffe Hero’s today, I felt myself relate to a time in my life when I stuck my neck out of the crowd to make a difference.
When I was in eighth grade, there was a kid in my class that I’ll refer to as Gabe. Gabe had trouble socializing and interacting with the other people in our grade. He never fit in and for that reason our classmates were always teasing him and making fun of what he would do. I always felt bad for Gabe because I understood how hard it was to be bullied. He was a nice kid, but no one took the time to get to know him.
One day in history class, I was doing my homework, trying to get everything finished before the weekend. The teacher had left the room for a brief moment and we were left by ourselves. I had a permanent seat next to Gabe because I was the only one in the class that didn’t call him names. I counted the seconds after the door had swung shut behind our teacher, for when the insults would begin.
” Gabe stop staring at the wall and do your work!”
“Why are you so weird Gabe? Stop staring at me!”
”Ewww, Gabe is always staring at people, he’s a pervert.” I could practically feel Gabe quaking next to me as his ears filled with these hurtful words. I couldn’t let myself stay silent any longer and I spoke.
“Guys,” I yelled over the commotion of the growing insults, the room silenced. “Guys, you need to stop. What you’re saying is hurtful. You may not realize this, but Gabe is a person with feelings. With every rude comment you say, it’s like you’re plunging a knife into him. This entire class needs to stop being bullies and get some respect for other people.” With my words out and hanging in the air, I averted my eyes from the many staring at me and resumed my work. I heard a slight “thanks Sarah,” whispered next to me.
No one picked on Gabe in that class again, but his school life was still far from perfect. He may not think much of that day, but knowing that I had the power to make a person’s life better for a single moment, made me never forget.