You know what my high school didn’t have? Well… lots of things.
But one thing in particular: the Cool Kids Lunch Table.
You know why? Mostly because we weren’t in a John Hughes movie, but also because we could leave campus for lunch.
And the cool kids had cars.
Actually, a lot of kids had cars whether they were cool or not. I, however,–even though I was at least moderately cool–did not. Thus, I occasionally found myself stuck at school during the lunch hour when I couldn’t bum a ride off anybody else.
On those rare occasions when I couldn’t ride along with somebody to the Taco Bandido or the Dairy Queen, I had the choice whether to go through the hot lunch line or eat out of the vending maching. And every once in a while I would give into my hunger and bypass my standard Dr. Pepper and Snickers bar for an actual lunch. But that meant going through the dreaded “lunch line.” Which, in all my sixteen year old wisdom, I had deemed as very uncool.
Every time I walked through that line there was a classmate on the other side of the glass partition who served the food. And if it was uncool to be on my side of the glass, it was definitely uncool to be on her side.
I didn’t know her well, but in a class of fewer than 200 students it’s pretty hard not to know everyone. So I would say hi to her. No big deal. Why wouldn’t I? It seemed kind of silly not to when I knew her name and she was standing right in front of me. I mean, clearly I could see through the glass between us.
I don’t know when it was–I sort of think at the end of my junior year–but this girl gave me a thank you card.
For saying hi to her.
And, because this is a week of gratitude posts, I’d like to write a thank you to her now.
Thank you for your card. To you it may have looked like I–walking around in that silly cheerleading skirt– had all the confidence in the world. But I had all the same insecurities that every teen-ager has. Except I thought I was the only one who had them.
I didn’t think I was very special when I didn’t make cheerleader my senior year and when the boys I liked didn’t like me back. And, I’m embarrassed to say now, it was pretty important to me to have people think I was special back then. I beat myself up over all the stupid things I did — and there were a lot– and every little mistake I made.
But your card made me feel like I had done one thing right. I made someone else happy–at least for a moment–without even really trying. All it took was a smile and a hello. And I wish I had realized then how much more important that was than the things I chose to focus on.
So thank you, D, for teaching me how important those two little words are. And for showing me how little it takes to make a difference.
P.S. It’s been twenty years and I still have that card.
**Come back Monday when you will see how this post ties into a free giveaway I will be sponsoring to show a little gratitude for you, my readers.***