I have a Master's degree plus a few classes, but when I was an undergrad, I very nearly dropped out of college. I wasn't terribly happy and I wanted to be in familiar surroundings. Add to that a snafu with my dorm room assignment and I was close to walking. During this whole dorm room situation, there came a time when I was moved out of my room and didn't have anywhere new to go. I was sitting in the lobby of the dorm, almost in tears and about to get in my 1966 Chevy van and drive off into the sunset, when a gentleman came over and asked who I was and what was going on. I told him the situation – minus my mental state – and he said he'd check on it. He bought me a 7-up and went off to find out what was going on. He came back a few minutes later and told me that I was not settled into a specific room yet, but I was going to be in that dorm in some room and soon. About an hour later, I was moved into the room I lived in for the next year. That guy kept me in school that day and put me on the path I am still walking today.
A few weeks later, I found out that he was a vice-president of the university, or something like that. I would see him around campus now and then, but I didn't think too much of it. After I had left Flagstaff, I started to wish that I could let him know what his small act of kindness had meant in my life. When I came back, I was never around him and didn't see him, although I knew he was still in town because I saw him on TV every now and then.
I wanted to tell him that I was a successful teacher and very happy in my life and with my college experience. I wanted to tell him that he had helped me be a better person, and all it cost him was 50¢ and a few minutes of time. I wanted to tell him that, at least for me, he had made a difference.
Last night I ran into him at the mall and I did.
Thanks for reading. I'll do better next time.