Sweet as M&Ms
At the sound of the bell, I eagerly run out of the door to begin my daily sprint for front spot in the brunch line. Like a tunnel-visioned horse, I bolt through the cafeteria doors, grab one of the few remaining peanut butter jelly sandwiches, pay, and nibble slowly at what would be my fuel for the next few hours. Hurrying to my upcoming club meeting, I am abruptly stopped by my best friend, Michael Munson. His bouncy gait suggested he was going to ask me for something.
“Can I have that sandwich pleaaase? I didn’t eat breakfast and have a wrestling match today!”
Knew it. Succumbing to his eternal grin, I handed over the valuable cardboard-tasting sandwich. His million-watt smile became brighter as he said, “Thanks! I’ll pay you back!”
“Yeah sure, whatever.” I apathetically responded, ignoring his pervasive gratitude and grumbling at the fact I would never get my money back.
It was an insidious experience seeing tears streaming down Michael’s face the next day. Judging from the agony I could see on his face, an extreme aberration from his omnipresent joy, I knew something was really wrong. I was even more devastated to discover the horridness of what happened: The night before, Micheal got a call from his mom and brother at the hospital saying his dad fell while walking his dog – He was paralyzed from the chest down for the rest of his life. I’d never seen him like this, and I felt horrible I couldn’t do anything at the moment to help. I made a vow on that day I would try to help him get through this situation in any way possible. I found out how – the cost of a paraplegic wheelchair for Mr. Munson cost $25,000.
The following weeks took me on a valuable journey that showed me the true power of giving. Starting from my own thoughts, then collaborating with Michael, and finally spreading the message to others, we were able to get Mr. Munson his wheelchair and then some. With the help of a crowdsourcing, social media, clubs, and individuals from across the school district, we were able to not only raise $32,000, but also provide great emotional support for the Munsons.
It was late May when the wheelchair finally came in. Mr. Munson got strapped in after 2 dreadful months of being bed-ridden. He initially experimented with the controls, and then, like a kid getting the hang of riding a bike, raced down the block with unseen jubilance on his face. Immediately, I was contemplating how we would post our next status update and send-thank yous as I paced around with focused, tunnel-visioned mentality. Then, Micheal took my arm.
He looked me in the eye, and with his same million-watt smile and said “Thank you… I don’t know how I will be able to pay you back.”
At that moment, I, myself, was thankful for the beauty around us – Everything from the warm blanket the sun coated us with, the amazing scenery that complimented Mr. Munson’s new freedom, to the amazing individuals who made the M&M Project possible; But, most of all, I was grateful for the reinforced friendship Michael and I now had into brotherhood. I was thankful I had a friend who wasn’t afraid to be venerable around me, who stuck with me as much as I stuck to him, and who I could laugh or cry with. Michael taught me that the significance of a thanks, no matter how big or small, should never be underestimated.
“Don’t mention it.” I responded.