From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Create Your Best Future


Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action; try to use ordinary situations.

~Jean Paul Richter

Two days before my birthday, I got an e-mail that would first make me cry and then make me smile.

Patrick was a kid that I knew from 4-H. We became friends when I taught him how to show horses and he showed my horse in the Junior Division at the County Horse Show. We weren’t “close” friends, but he was a pretty cool guy. I mean, how many guys like to show horses and will let a girl teach them how to do it? Not very many.

After the horse show and his leaving the club, we kind of lost contact. He sent me a Christmas card with his email address in it, but I put off e-mailing him. I thought, How much stuff would we be able to talk about anyway?

His e-mail address was in my address book, and when I changed servers, my new address went to everyone on my list. A few days later I got a reply from Patrick. It was brief; he asked me how I was and told me that he had started riding lessons again. He also asked me how Theo, my horse, was and he gave me his e-mail address. He ended with:

Hope you have a nice day. Patrick.

I replied to his e-mail, just small talk, and my e-mail looked something like this:

Hi! Nice to hear from you. That’s so cool you’re taking lessons. I’m really sorry that I didn’t e-mail you at all during the winter. School has been really busy for me this year. Theo is doing good. He still knocks my radio off the stall door when I have the music on too loud. You’ll have to come out and visit sometime.

A few more lines ended my e-mail. When his came back, he had some questions for me.

That’s cool. What kind of music do you listen to? I like country. Do you like hunting?

Turns out, country music is the only thing I will listen to! And hunting is one of my favorite pastimes. I had no idea we had so much in common. I thought, This is cool, we actually like the same stuff!

Those e-mails were the start of a two-month correspondence that covered a wide variety of subjects. Having a lot in common made it easy to just chat. And to tell you the truth, I enjoyed getting his e-mails.

Toward the end of June, I wrote him a reply to an e-mail I had received four days earlier from him. I felt bad about not getting back to him right away and my e-mail wasn’t much more than a note, but what I got back from him took my breath away.

Patrick’s e-mail was short. He started off by telling me he was going to be on vacation for three weeks and other stuff like that. But the postscript is what got me. It read:

P.S. I really wanted to say thank you for talking to me through e-mail. I’m usually really shy and am afraid to tell people what my likes are and all, plus I really have been bored since school let out. E-mailing you, at least I can talk to someone. You like everything I like so far, and as long as I have lived I have never met anyone so much like me. I’ve been used to a lot of people picking on me, and I’ve been pretty down the past few years.

When I read that people picked on him, my thoughts were, Why in the world are kids so mean? Don’t they realize how they are making him feel? It broke my heart to hear him say that he had been down the past few years. I actually started crying when I read how the other kids treated him. It was then that I understood that Patrick was a kid who had needed a friend. My taking the time to e-mail him had made him feel important, like someone really cared enough to talk to him instead of just picking on him.

I want to thank you again. You like just about everything I like — hunting, cars, country music, horses. To me you’re like an angel.

Those last six words touched my heart. It made me feel so good I just can’t explain it! No one had ever said anything that nice to me before, and to be called an “angel” just made my day! When I e-mailed him back, I sincerely thanked him for what he said and told him to hang on.

That day, I learned a lesson that would stay with me for the rest of my life. From now on, I will take the time to do the little things, like replying to an e-mail or card, even if it’s just a line or two. You never know how you might help someone and become his or her “angel.”

~Jena Pallone

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