LETTER TO THE EDITOR: One person can make a difference

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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To the Editor:

A question we sometimes ask ourselves is: "Can one person make a difference?"

With our country in a downward spiral (not to mention the global scene), we could easily despair and say to ourselves, "What could I possibly do to make any difference whatsoever?" And we can easily feel pretty small and insignificant. And, on a large scale, none of us can make a noticeable difference. Each of us is like a grain of sand on the immense national or global scene beach.

            But...let's ponder it biblically for a minute. You and I one day will give an account of ourselves as individuals. We won't answer for the grand scale things beyond our sphere of personal influence. So let's ponder the original question, but limit it to those people and circumstances that we each personally encounter in life. And, to do that, I'd like to share a true story about someone who made a real difference in someone else's life.

            Very recently I witnessed something that had a profound effect on me about this subject. I was at a supermarket gathering up our weekly groceries from my wife's handwritten list. (She doesn't drive anymore). After I was finished loading everything in the car, I noticed a young man gathering up the carts to take back into the store. As I pushed my cart over to him, we both exchanged 'hellos'. He seemed like a nice young man. As I turned to return to my car, I noticed a middle-aged woman walking nearby. She was the cashier who had checked me out just a few minutes before. I heard her call over to the young man that she was leaving to go home, and wished him a good evening as she walked toward her own car. He wished her a “good evening” as well. Then...as she drew further away...I heard him call out to her, "I told my family you were my friend.”

           The woman stopped dead in her tracks - and turned toward the young man. You could sense the emotional effect the young man's words had on her. That befriending this young man meant so much to him that he'd told his family about her. I then heard her tell him that was a "sweet" thing for him to do. That she valued his friendship.

By now it was obvious to me this was a young man that today we might call "challenged.” Someone who maybe didn't fit in easily to make friends. So this woman's friendship meant the world to him. And she, in turn, was quite touched to discover that.

           After I got home, I couldn't help but ponder the biblical admonition to "...be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted...". And over the last couple days, I realized the conversation I'd overheard truly showed that one person can make a difference. That woman extended a simple friendship to someone who needed it. And he, in turn, touched her heart forever by what he said.