I know this will be hard to believe, but I was not a popular kid in Middle School. Short, scrawny, buzzed head and black plastic framed glasses (long before they were in style). Needless to say my friend count was able to fit on one hand. One such friend was Bruce. 7th grade found Bruce and me in gym class walking laps around the football field. Being an easy target for bullies, I was chosen on a particular day I will never forget. A fellow student, who had failed at least once and had the acne to prove it, turned around in the middle of our laps. He walked up to me and began to land blast me verbally. I had no idea why, but I know at that moment I wanted it to stop. Then Bruce stepped between us. The bully told Bruce to step out of the way, but he didn’t. Instead Bruce antagonized the guy to divert attention off of me. He did this so well that the bully punched him square in the nose. And Bruce went down. By that point the other students were spectating and I was in fear that my face was next. But Bruce stood up, blood gushing down his nose onto his shirt and the ground. He antagonized the bully again, remaining a line of defense in front of me. This time the punch connected with his left eye. Down again, up again. By this point the teachers were rushing across the field and pulling the two apart. Bruce went to the hospital in an ambulance. The next day found his face swollen and eye black. The bully wasn’t seen for a number of weeks, but when he returned…he never messed with me again.
Look around you. Somebody needs you to stand up for them today. Maybe it’s helping their voice be heard at a meeting or supporting an idea they are afraid will be ridiculed. But be there for them. Look around again. Somebody stands up for you. They make time to hear what you have to say or defends you even when they don’t have to. Find a way to appreciate them this week.
In the words of Kid President, “treat everyone like it’s their birthday.”