I recently caught up with a friend from High School on Facebook, I’ll call him John. We have been chatting a little, catching up on where our lives have taken us. But tucked back in the recess of my mind is an incident where he made a huge difference in my life. I wonder sometimes if he remembers or if the event is just a small cliff note buried under the large amount of the events of a lifetime.
SO.. the story went like this. I was a sophomore in High School dating a senior; we’ll call him Steve (I never dated a Steve so this should be safe). My parents weren’t thrilled about it as Steve had a car and a lot more freedom than I.
It was a Friday night and we were at one of the keggers that took place in various corn fields throughout our rural hometown. Steve and his buddies were drinking as I sipped orange juice, pretending that the container held vodka as well. (I wasn’t a prude but I hated the taste of alcohol and my Dad had a knack for smelling beer, so the OJ).
It was getting late and Steve was getting ready to leave, slapping buddies on the back, tripping over the wood by the fire and basically being a typical loud and obnoxious drunken jerk.
We were walking towards the cars when John steps up and says, “Steve, man, you are in no condition to drive. How bout I take you and Wendy home? I’ll bring you back for the car tomorrow.”
“I’m fine, no really I can drive.” Steve grabbed my arm and pulled me towards the car.
“Come on Wendy I’ll take you home.” John reached out for my other arm.
“She’s fine.” By now drunken Steve was getting a little pissed and I had become a rope in a game of tug of war. “Wendy get in the car.”
John stepped up and put himself between Steve and me.
“I don’t think so. If you’re so stupid that you’ll take your own life in your hands then by all fucking means go ahead. But Wendy’s going home with me.”
Steve yelled at John. John yelled at Steve. In the end I road home with John. I was only fifteen.
Steve made it all the way to his house before putting the car in the ditch as he made the turn up his parents long winding drive. He was banged up and had some stitches on his forehead, but I always wondered what would have happened had he driven me home on the winding back roads.
The point of the story is that as you look back over your life, you remember those moments when someone stepped up and put your life in their hands. You remember those times when one small step in a different direction could be the difference between something good or bad happening.
John probably doesn’t even remember because he is just that type of guy. I’m sure he’s stepped in over the years to help others out, it’s just his way.
So to him and others that have made a difference in my life over the years, I say, Thank you.