Helping someone is one of the best things a person can do. It not only eases the trouble of the one being helped, but it also increases the love and strengthens the bond that you share with them, in turn making you happy.

As what goes around also comes around, you helping someone will surely benefit you in one way or another in the future. As the saying goes, “One good deed returns another.”

Helping someone fills you with humbleness and kindness, and seeing them express their happiness and smiling gratefully at you makes you whole and warm from the inside. That is how I felt after helping a friend of mine on one of the most important days of her life.

My friend, Jenna, had won “The Best Performer Award” for her part in the school play. All of us friends were extremely happy for her and proud of her achievement. Thus, to show our support and pride, we all prepared to attend the prize distribution ceremony which was held in our school the day after the play. As the event was in the school, it was compulsory to wear the school uniform for all the students, both in the audience and the winners.

Jenna looked radiant and as graceful as a swan in her white, new uniform.

“Congratulations Jenna! We’re so proud of you,” one of our friends hugged her as the rest of our group chimed in agreement.

“Thank you guys! I really appreciate you all being here for me,” Jenna replied excitedly.

Then an announcement quietened us down, as we heard the winners being asked to prepare themselves and be ready as the ceremony was starting in about five minutes.

“Got to go! See you guys!” Jenna squealed and turned excitedly, but bumped into a girl drinking water, who was standing just behind her. This accident resulted in Jenna’s new uniform being drenched all over the front with water.

“Oh no! I’m sorry …” the girl began, but Jenna cut her off saying how it was her fault that she hurriedly turned back without looking where she was going. Then she burst into tears and sat down on a bench with her face hidden in her hands. She could not imagine how she would walk on the stage in her deranged uniform to receive her award.

We all tried to calm her down by wiping away the tears that rolled down her flushed cheeks, but it was of no use. That is when I had an idea. I took Jenna’s hand and asked her to come with me.

“But I saved the best of my uniforms for this day! How can I go up on the stage and shake hands with the judge wearing a uniform that is all wet down the front?” Jenna cried, cursing her luck as I made her get up and come with me.

“Trust me, you will go in a clean and dry uniform to the stage,” I assured her on the way. I took her to the changing room of our gym and asked her to exchange her uniform with mine and wear it for the award ceremony.

“Jenna, let’s do it quickly, there is no time since the ceremony is going to start soon. We are almost the same size, so you can easily fit into my shirt while I will wear your wet one. And don’t worry about anything. Do you really think that your accomplishment would be diminished because of what you are wearing? Do you really believe that you would be looked up to based on how new your outfit is?” I assured her.

“It is not what you are wearing or how you look that counts, it is what you did that does. It is not how you seem to be from the outside that matters, it is how you are from the inside that does. Your stars do not disappear or shine more brightly affected by the aura of how you look or the fabric that hangs from your body. Your worth is never influenced by your outer beauty. Rather, it is your inner qualities, skill and hard work that make you who you are. Whenever we face a problem, we need to think of a solution and make use of whatever we have at hand, Jenna,” I tried to calm her down and rebuild her confidence.

After we had exchanged our uniforms, she looked at herself in the mirror and wiped her tear-stained face. I patted her back and told her to hurry or she would be late.

Jenna turned to me and asked, “But Sandy, what about you? How will you go in this wet uniform? Now you look so odd.”

“Hey, don’t worry about me, it is your day. And this uniform will dry soon as I will stand under the sun for a while, and then I will join you and celebrate,” I assured my friend.

“Oh Sandy, but this is so unfair to you! You will miss the function and …” Jenna still felt guilt.

“It it more important for you to go and receive your award. What will we celebrate if you don’t go? Don’t worry about me or feel guilty. Hurry up!” I assured my friend as I sent her off.

I walked outside and sat on a bench in the sun, feeling satisfied that my friend would not miss this important occasion. After a few minutes, the uniform had dried out a bit and the water stain was not so visible. I then decided to go to the auditorium where the award ceremony was taking place. I walled in just as Jenna’s name was being announced.

Jenna went up on the stage to accept her award, beaming proudly and smiling with gratitude, wearing my old, but dry school uniform. Then she was asked to say a few words.

“I am really humbled to be given this award. It is because of the guidance of my teacher and everyone who was part of this play. I want to thank them all. But most of all, I want to thank my friend Sandy, for without her help I would not have been standing here. Sandy, you are a friend indeed!” she said emotionally and looked at me, then walked down from the stage as everyone in the audience clapped for her.

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 30th, 2022

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