A violent wind pulled at my hair and hurled me towards the automatic doors. “I hate hospitals,” I murmured to myself as I entered. “Why do I always have to be sick?” I was at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City for yet another round of tests, which would later reveal that I had epilepsy. I felt as if all I ever did was spend time in the hospital.
On this autumn day, I was feeling particularly unpleasant and detested the fact that at 14, I was still forced to stay at a hospital that I thought was just for babies. It just wasn’t fair! How could all my other friends live in one big whirlwind of teenage fun while I was forced to bear such a heavy burden?
In the midst of my self-pity, my eyes were drawn to a boy who was about five or six years old, sitting in a wheelchair in the gift shop with his mother.
“Please, Momma,” he said softly, holding up a toy, “please can I get this?”
His mother looked at the toy, then at the little boy and said, “No, sweetheart, we can’t afford that.”
Although I was sure he was disappointed, the little boy’s reaction surprised me. He smiled and set the toy back on the shelf.
As his mother wheeled him back down the hall, I picked up the toy, paid for it, and rushed out of the gift shop. When I caught up with them, I handed the little boy the toy and said, “This toy wants to go home with you!”
The little boy’s face turned serious, and he said, “You got this for me?”
I smiled and looked at his mother, who had tears coming down her cheeks, but she was smiling.
I turned to walk away, and as I turned the corner down the hall, I heard the little boy say, “I know who that was, Mommy. That was an angel.” His mother laughed quietly and said, “I know.”
Giving him a small gift seemed to make a big difference, not only for him but for me too. At that moment, I forgot to be selfish, and despite the fact that my problems didn’t magically disappear, I suddenly felt a whole lot better.