This story reached me several times through e-mail. After trying to locate the author, it appears that the story was originally published as one of the servings of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I have included the e-mail text that also came along with the story, but am still trying to figure out when National Friendship week is/was.
With this e-mail also comes the token that says that YOU
are special. There's a miracle called Friendship that dwells in the heart.
You don't know how it happens or when it gets started but, you know the
special lift it always brings and you realize that Friendship is a most
It's National Friendship Week. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their heart to us.
Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden.
As they walked Mark discovered the boy's name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, that he was having a lot of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. They arrived at Bill's home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home.
They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long awaited senior year came, and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.
Bill reminded him of the day years
ago when they had first met. "Do you ever wonder why I was carrying so
many things home that day?" asked Bill. "You see, I cleaned out my locker
because I didn't want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away
some of my mother's sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide.
But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized
that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many
others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up my books
that day, you did a lot more. You saved my life."
Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit
by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Published by Health Communications,
Inc., May 1993.
From the publisher: Two of America's best-loved inspirational speakers share the best of their stories, tales that have touched the hearts of people everywhere. Canfield and Hansen bring you wit and wisdom, hope and empowerment to buoy you up through life's dark moments.