A True Friend

A True Friend

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

A True Friend

My friend is one… who takes me for what I am.

~Henry David Thoreau

Makayla and I have always clicked. In kindergarten, we were both very athletic and loved racing against each other. Then during the first grade, Makayla and her family went on a trip. On their way home, a bus hit her family’s car. At that moment, my friend Makayla’s life changed forever.

She was in the hospital for a long time. Every day I hoped and prayed that Makayla would come back to school. After what seemed like forever, Makayla finally returned. When I saw her, I knew my life would change, too. She was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down.

From that time on, when it is too wet or too cold for Makayla to go outside during recess, I stay in with Makayla and we play together, just the two of us. We have been in the same classes for the last five years. She is an A+ student who never gets into trouble.

Some people think Makayla should be in the “special” class, but that’s just not the case. When people try to treat Makayla like she is helpless, she doesn’t get down — she just goes that extra mile to prove them wrong. Makayla can do eleven or more pull-ups, hang on the bar longer than most boys, reach up as far as the tallest girl in school (when she is sitting down) and tons of other things.

Sometimes the classroom is crowded with a lot of kids. If you think that stops Makayla, you had better think again! She will get up out of her wheelchair and use the desks and her strength to get to wherever she wants to go. When she needs to go upstairs, and the elevator is occupied or isn’t running, then Makayla will crawl up the steps and have somebody bring the wheelchair upstairs for her.

Every springtime at school, we have a day where our whole school does outdoor activities all day, and we keep track of what we have done on a card. Half of the activities include running, which Makayla can’t do. I pair up with Makayla, and she will do whatever activities she can. Then I do my running events. After that, I run Makayla’s events for her. At the end of the day, I am extremely tired — but happy — knowing that I helped Makayla fill out her whole card. Makayla stands beside me 150 percent, and I do the same in return.

Sometimes people think Makayla doesn’t go through the same things that they go through because she is in a wheelchair. But that’s not true. She goes through dealing with crushes, issues with her brothers and sisters, school and everyday stuff that every other girl goes through.

So when you see somebody who is handicapped or different, take the time to get to know them. Who knows… they may become your very best friend.

~Kelsey Temple, 11

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