“You Mean the World to Me,” New Era, Apr. 2004, 40
I was never the most popular girl in my school, but I had tons of good friends, people to talk to and trust. Most of the students at school, including some of my friends and I, made fun of a girl in my class because she was different. We would tease her and call her names. We thought she looked funny, so we were just using her to entertain ourselves.
One Friday night some of my friends and I were at a friend’s house. We stayed up late talking, and we started talking about this girl. Then one of my friends said that she used to be friends with this girl and that she was made fun of last year, too. She told us that when they were friends, this girl used to call her on the phone every day after school. She said that sometimes it sounded like she was crying.
This made me think twice about how this girl must have felt. So I decided to stop making fun of her. That next week, instead of saying something mean or laughing at her, I would smile at her. After a few weeks, we began saying hi to each other in the halls. The next month we started talking more. We became very good friends.
One day we were walking to the bus, and this girl looked at me and said, “You mean the world to me, and I am so glad you’re my friend because you’re so nice to me. You respect me for who I am, and you make me so happy. You give me a reason to come back to school every day.”
After she told me this, I couldn’t speak. All I could do was say thanks and think about how much our friendship meant to her. It made me feel like someone out there loved me and respected me for how I acted toward them. It made me feel like I was worth something.