Here are some answers to that question:
1) the_timps wrote, “I was 11 or 12, and we were on a brief holiday between fruit-picking towns. It really stands out in my memory because we didn’t holiday, ever.
“So we were travelling from one small dusty fruit-picking town to another and we’ve stopped off at this caravan park. [“Canavan” is a British referring to a vehicle that people live in on vacations; it is often pulled behind a car or truck.] It’s dusty and dirty, run down, and looks abandoned like every other caravan park we stayed at. I don’t know if you’re familiar with caravan parks, but there’s no middle ground with them. They are either well painted and clean and run by someone who loves what they do, or dusty and dirty with faded broken signs because you need them (nowhere else to stop on that road) and they don’t need to maintain things to keep business coming.
“So we’re settled in and I go for a walk, through the bushes, following this dusty dirt track. And then suddenly the trees and bushes give way and the ocean is there. It’s nothing new, we lived on the beach in Bowen, but here was beautiful. The sand was whiter, the water a little more blue than green, and it curved around us; this little bay was beautiful and the sun shone down to showcase it for us.
“There was a little girl on the beach. I said hello; she was 8 or 9. As a kid in a caravan park, there are no age boundaries except adulthood. You are all in this together. Boy or girl (I’m a dude, by the way).
So we played on the beach, drew lines in the sand running along with sticks dragging behind us, threw rocks in the water, but not swimming. The little girl, named Renee, didn’t want to swim; it was too dangerous.
Renee tells me she is going to die. Sometime soon. That’s why she is in the caravan park. They are on holiday so the family can have fun together before she dies.
“I think nothing of the story; it’s just a story right?
“So we head back into the caravan park and meet up with my older sister and her older brother. We all play some more; he tells her to be careful on some things. And when [we were] playing on a roundabout (spinning ride in a playground [merry-go-round], not a traffic roundabout!) he catches her as she falls off the edge and carries her home. Apparently the spinning got to be too much and she got very dizzy.
“We run into her parents later that night, and I ask if Renee is ok. Her father says she’ll be fine, but because she’s so sick things can take a toll on her. He confirms the story. She had chemotherapy and lost all her hair, and then it grew back after treatment stopped. She has long brown hair she brushes constantly, and she wears ribbons, headbands, and flowers in it because she never used to be able to.
“She wasn’t sad; she was ok with knowing what her future was. She told me she needed to enjoy the time she had because she knew it wasn’t too long.
“I’ve grown up (I’m in my 30s now) with this little girl leading the front. She’s not always on my mind or anything, but she comes up sometimes. When things are dark, when it’s hard. When bills come in, or I’ve injured myself and I’m working through pain. She was dying, and at 8 or 9 years old she had a quiet grace and a positive outlook.
“I wish she’d been ok. But in just 8 years how many other people did she meet in caravan parks, and hospitals and everywhere else she’d been? How many lives did she touch with her absolutely unbreakable spirit and positivity in the face of what she knew was coming?
“Every day matters, and the only person who can really decide how you live it is you.”
2) EbenHSHD wrote, “I grew up in an abusive home, so my social skills weren’t where they needed to be in my early childhood. I’d go to school and pretty much just keep silent the entire time. I never spoke to anyone and if someone spoke to me I’d only give them nods or single-sentence responses while making sure not to make eye contact. This eventually led to bullying and the harassment only caused the gap in my social skills to grow over the years.
“About halfway through 5th grade, I was on the swings by myself as usual when a kid came over and sat on the swing next to me. He introduced himself, but that was it. He didn’t try to talk to me; he didn’t try to play with me. He just sat there with me all through recess. He did this every day for a few weeks before my curiosity overpowered my social anxiety and I asked him why he sat with me everyday. He looked at me and said, ‘You look like you needed a friend.’ I was blown away. Never had anyone extended their hand out to me like that. I slowly started trying to talk to him and for the rest of the year he was my only and best friend.
“Over the summer, before going into 6th grade with my friend, it was discovered I was being abused and I was forced to move. I’m 22 now and I’m doing okay, but if I could thank Christopher for what he did I would. I really and truly believe he saved my life just by trying to be my friend. I really hope he is doing well.”
3) bankergoesawrr wrote, “Told this story before … when my cousin and I were kids, we were swimming in the pool at this hotel that had famously great hot chocolate. We decided we wanted more hot chocolate, but couldn’t find our parents anywhere.
“We went up to a random couple & demanded hot chocolate. They actually bought it for us and we hung out with them until our parents found us. By then, we’ve finished our hot chocolates & all evidence had been cleared away. We decided not to tell our parents because we knew they’d be pissed, especially since we tried asking for more hot chocolate, and they [parents] told us we couldn’t have anymore since they were so overpriced (I believe they were $6-8ish/cup … can’t really remember). The couple was nice enough not to mention it, so they never got paid back.
Looking back, I think they were probably on their honeymoon since they were really gushy around each other. I’m sure they weren’t planning to spend half a day babysitting two annoying 5- and 6-year-old kids.
“To the couple whose honeymoon I ruined, I’m so sorry. I hope you’re still together and happy!”
4) jenny010137 wrote, “When I was 26, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I had really good insurance, was diagnosed early, and my prognosis was good. My first day of radiation therapy, I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for my turn. A young woman, about my age, was standing at the reception desk. I couldn’t help but overhear her conversation with the receptionist. She had just been diagnosed with cancer, but had no insurance. The receptionist had to tell her they couldn’t help her. She asked, ‘What do I do?’ I didn’t hear what the receptionist said, but the girl left. That was eleven years ago, and it still haunts me. I’ve always wondered what happened to her. I hope she was still able to get treatment and beat her cancer.”
[David Bruce comments, “Thank God and Obama — a good team — for Obamacare.”]
SugeNightShyamalan commented, “Depending on your area, this may have been me. I had cervical cancer at the time.
“A very good friend offered to marry me because he had great insurance. Eventually, I took him up on it. We’re divorced now, and never told our friends or family.
“Edit: This was San Diego County, California. [Later, she added that the year was 2005.]
Fretboard commented, “If you look up the word ‘friend’ in the dictionary, there would be a picture of this guy.
“I’m going to look it up now; I want to see what he looks like.”
5) ColoradoFishTapes wrote, “Yep, I still think this dude was my guardian angel of sorts, I think about him almost everyday. My guardian angel happens to be a 300-pound Mexican line cook ….
“I was pretty down and out, sitting in some shitty burger joint on Sunset Boulevard. At the time, I was seriously strung out on drugs, and probably at the lowest point in my life in regards to my alcoholism (I was going through a bottle of Bicardi 151 Rum just about every two days). So, here I am unshaven, and still awake after being up for about two days. I wasn’t really even hungry due to the drugs I was on, just didn’t have anywhere to go.
“I looked down and saw this cockroach run across the floor, then thought, ‘Wow, so this is the bottom, I guess.’ I looked towards the kitchen and saw this fat Mexican dude turn his head really fast, so that I wouldn’t see that he was staring at me. He was huge, sweating like a champ. He wiped his hands on his nasty greasy apron, and then threw a burger on the plate.
“I looked out the window wondering what my next move was. Was I gonna go get strung out again, or try to find my girlfriend, who was also strung out and probably giving some guy head in an alley? It was hot, and I had not showered for a while.
“‘You look hungry?’
“I look up to see my fat Mexican buddy with a burger on a plate.
“‘You know, I work three jobs; this is my second stop today. I noticed that you look sad, and I am sad a lot, too.”
“I just kinda sat there wondering why this dude was talking to me. He set the burger down in front of me. ‘You need to eat, and you need to be healthy. I don’t do this much with all the bums around here, but I don’t feel like you are like that.’
“He then walked away and told me to keep my head up, and that it ‘gets better.’
“So, I did get better. It was probably the lowest point of my life, and I had nobody that I could genuinely call a friend, or anybody that even gave a shit about me. I am still convinced to this day that that one guy saved me from spiraling further into substance abuse. For a few minutes he was my buddy, and that’s all I needed. I wish I could tell him thank you.”
For Further Information: freezieepops, “Hey, Reddit! Have you guys ever met anyone for a very brief period in your life and wish you still had contact with? What was the story on how y’all met and why did they make such an impression on you?” Reddit. 7 July 2015
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