Kennedy Stidham, Staff Writer

I will never forget the image of the little boy in his wheel chair dancing to the Justin Bieber song playing over the intercom at the Special Olympics. The smile on his face and the happiness that radiated out of him with each movement of his arm filled me with a congruent amount of joy. I found myself dancing with him forgetting to care about the people watching. He let out a hearty laugh and smiled even wider at me.  I smiled at him and thanked him silently for the few seconds of fun before walking away.

Don’t ask me why this small fragment of such a long day of great experiences stuck with me so strongly, because I’m not sure. Maybe I admire the courage of the boy who was unafraid of looking silly in front of his peers. It could be how he smiled at me, like I was his best friend though I was a complete stranger. Or maybe it was the fact that he could not really dance since he couldn’t move his legs but he tried anyway. What an inspiring sight to see.

Which ever one it was, something about this “dance” shared with the stranger snuck into my heart, not just my memory. The boy, whose name I do not even know, gave me a gift without knowing so. The few seconds gave me a well needed new perspective on more than just dancing – life. I wish I could go back and thank him out loud.

My whole experience at the Special Olympics will be something I will remember for all my days to come. One experience in particular will stand out among the rest. It will be the story I remember when I am afraid to do something because I may look silly. This will be the moment that encourages me to do whatever “it” is anyway.

This particular moment will be what I think of when I meet a stranger. Because of this experience, I will smile at strangers like they are friends. But most importantly, I will look back on this story when the odds are against me, and I will be motivated to try anyway.

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