The Day I Asked Forgiveness for Bullying a Classmate
Say "No" to Bullying
Say "No" to Bullying
Bullies have been around forever, at least since children have been gathering together. When most of us think about bullies, we imagine that big strong boy that intimidates and picks on everyone. This is not the only face of bullies. Bullies can actually be typical people that are usually very kind and loving. Here is my story of how I became involved in bullying someone in middle school. A memory which I am very ashamed about.
I didn't have the Courage to Stop the Bullying
I was a middle schooler and riding the bus to school. I was sitting next to one of my best buddies and chatting away. About Halfway to school I heard some commotion going on behind me. It was three kids teasing Linda. Linda was moderately developmentally disabled. She went to school with the rest of us but everyone knew she was slow. She usually kept to herself except for a good friend of hers. His name was Mike and he was also developmentally disabled. He was also integrated into the school system but went to special education classes. That is where he met his good friend Linda.
I saw that three kids were trying to make Linda eat a sandwich that had fallen out of someone's lunchbox and onto the dirty floor of the bus. Eventually, it wasn't just the three people bullying Linda but now many people were getting involved. Several kids now began yelling for Linda to eat the sandwich. The chanting became louder and louder. My buddy and I were feeling uncomfortable about this sad scene involving Linda but we just sat there and watched. Soon, the whole bus was cheering for Linda to eat the sandwich. Peer pressure in middle school is real and Lisa and I soon found ourselves uttering the words, "eat the sandwich, eat the sandwich." That poor girl did eat the dirty grimey sandwich. I would be haunted by this despicible event for many years. That is until...
I was a highschool senior and enjoying everything about being seventeen. One spring day, my friends and I went to a local, fast food joint. Hardee's had become a place that many highschoolers hung out after school and on weekends. This particular day as I waited in line, someone caught my attention. I had to look close, but soon realized it was Linda, the girl from middleschool that was so shamelessly bullied. My heart sank as I recalled that day on the school bus. Here she was now, cashier at Hardee's and doing quite well. My mind was reeling about whether to say anything to Linda. Did she even remember me? I almost burst when I got to the front of the line. I ordered a hamburger and fries and she politely thanked me when I gave her the money. I couldn't hold it in anymore. I said, "Linda, I don't know if you remember me but...Just then, Linda interrupted me. She said, "I remember you Linda, we went to middleschool together," and smiled at me. I told her I was very ashamed that I teased her on the bus that day back in 7th grade. By the look on her face, I could see she remembered the event I spoke of. I said, "Linda, will you forgive me, I was just a foolish kid?" She didn't even hesitate and said, "yes, I forgive you." I was very choked up at this sacred moment, to be forgiven. Before we said our goodbye's, she said she wanted to introduce me to her husband. She ran back to the kitchen and up walked this good looking young man with a name tag on his shirt that said, "manager." Linda, this is my husband Mike.
I walked out of Hardee's, humbled and more grown up. Linda and Mike taught me so much that day. I was grateful to be forgiven and learned a big lesson that day. Bullying is wrong and even if you feel pulled in to follow the crowd, don't. Be a leader and have the confidence to stop the bully and the bullying.
We achieve inner health only through forgiveness-the forgiveness not only of others but also of ourselves." Joshua Loth Liebman
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© 2011 Linda Rogers
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