Most people who know me know I have a cynical side. I tend to get irritated with the general masses for stupidity, and I’d rather just hide in my house instead of go out and be forced to socialize. That being said, I’ll never turn my back on someone in need, and I do believe in an innate goodness within mankind.
I play online games. I love them, don’t hate on me for it, it’s a minor part of this true story. A few days ago through a mutual online friend, I met a young man who has brain cancer. His parents have both died as well as his grandparents, and because he is old enough to be considered an adult in the state he lives in, he lives alone. He rarely attends school because his cancer prevents him from it.
So last night I’m online and I get a message from him, mind you, I’ve only talked to him one other time. His message says he’s had enough, and that he’s going to end his life because he can’t handle living with his cancer anymore. Now, coming from any other stranger, I would have been slightly skeptical. I know people do these sort of things for attention. Knowing this young man’s back history, however, and knowing about him and how serious his situation was from our mutual friend, I immediately sent him a response asking him to chat with me. He wouldn’t at first, but after a few minutes of my pleading, he got on the microphone.
This young man who had survived so much and been through so much had gone to school for the first time in months yesterday, and he was met with ridicule from at least 6 classmates who dressed in hospital robes and skinhead caps and were waiting for him when he arrived to torment him.
Needless to say, he returned home from school depressed and wondering what the point was in continuing; he had no friends, no family, and he was in constant pain. He talked of how terrified he was of dying unhappy and how devastating it was to find out he had cancer after the death of his parents. I won’t go into the details on our conversation, but I spent five hours with this young man last night, talking to him, listening as he sobbed, laughing with him when we finally turned the corner. I managed to get his other online friend on the phone (thank whatever powers that be for allowing me to obtain a phone number for a person I’ve never met) and by the end of the night, he had taken the medications he needed to stay alive and was playing rounds of Call of Duty with me.
“You’ve done more for me than anyone here has ever done,” he said to me at one point. Me: a total stranger who lives hundreds of miles away from him. I gave him my phone number and told him he could call me anytime. I stayed up with him until he decided to try to sleep, and we parted ways on a friendly, lighter note.
I don’t know what the future holds for this young man, but the point of this story is to remember the importance of kindness. One word, one action, one thought from a total stranger can make the difference in someone’s life. As for those kids who heartlessly tormented this poor soul…I may be kind, but if I ever meet them on the street, I’ll be sure to generously hand out justice for their ridiculous cruelty.