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The Lessons Learned During My Thanksgiving Break

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The date was Thursday, November 22, 2018. It was Thanksgiving Day and my family and I were at the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, on our way back home from visiting family. The airport was brimming with hungry, lethargic people impatiently waiting in line to weigh their luggage. I recognized the smell of fading Chanel perfume that women were wearing and the smell of popcorn. I heard the sound of luggage wheels gliding across the cracks in the tile. Three business women were battling trying to book the last tickets available for a flight to Denver, Colorado.

As we approached the front of the baggage line, I spotted a family of four slouched on chairs with a downcast look spread upon their faces. There was a mom, a dad, and two kids. Everyone that walked past them disregarded them. The mom had tears racing her down her cheeks, and the dad was embracing her as if it was their last day together. My mind was racing with curiousness. All I was wondering, was what could have possibly happened to them. I tapped my mom and told her to gaze over there, but not to make it distinct. My mom then quickly glances over and whispers, “they’re probably just having a bad day, don’t worry honey.” The mom stood up a couple of seconds later and started walking towards us.

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“Do you know where the bathroom is?” said the mom with a soft voice.

“Yes, it is down by terminal two.”

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Our house burnt down and my husband lost his job this morning” she whispered back. At that moment, my heart sank to my stomach, and I was tongue-tied. My mind was swirling around with words trying to form an answer. I was speechless. Speechless.

“Can you give us a minute?” my mom said. We stepped aside and my mom started to whimper and then instantly tears seeped down her face. I tried to console my mom and finally, she cooled down. We walked back up to the lady.

“We have room at our house for you guys to stay,” my mom uttered. “We are more than happy to help you!” That instant, a smile began to take over her face.

“Yes, that would be amazing,” said the mom.

She ran over to her family and told them the exciting news. They lived with us for about two months until they were able to get back on their feet. They were one of the most gracious families we have ever met. Before they left, the dad said, “you changed our lives forever.” That one act of kindness not only guided them back on their feet, but it taught me that helping others in need is not only what is expected of us; it is what gives meaning to life. Helping others, whether unplanned, or purposefully, ultimately boosts people’s happiness, and that’s what we need in this world. In helping others rather than striving for our own gain, we find a great sense of satisfaction. People who are in need of our help live all around us it is crucial we open our eyes up to those needs.

I believe each and every one of us has the potential to be the next person to hold the door open at the store, buy a homeless person a meal, donate to charity, or lend someone a hand. Everyone reaches a point in their lives when they’re at rock bottom, and it is our job to reach out and make a change. Helen Keller once said, “I am only one, still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.” What will you do to make a change?

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