“Making a New Friend,” Liahona, Feb. 2013, 57
I was sitting at a lunch table with my friends when I noticed that a new boy named Michael had transferred into our lunch period. It seemed like he didn’t really know anyone but was willing to make some new friends. He decided to sit with a group of older boys, who pretended to be his friends for a while but ended up making a joke out of him. They constantly made fun of him until he started to cry. I watched this happen, and it really bothered me. I later learned that Michael has autism.
I decided to ask Michael if he wanted to sit by my friends and me. He said no, probably out of fear of people making fun of him again. He decided he’d rather sit alone.
The next day, I went up to him and introduced him to my friends. I could tell he was glad I hadn’t given up on him, and we started talking. I learned that he is a tic-tac-toe pro. He is almost undefeatable. I also learned how incredibly smart he is. He knows all of the U.S. presidents and can tell you what years they served. He is awesome, but not many people were willing to see past his disability. Some of the other students teased me for sitting with him, but I didn’t let them bother me. I liked hanging out with Michael.
Each day as we met for lunch, I could tell Michael was becoming a happier person. He looked forward to lunch every day, and so did I. What I thought was simply an act of service was really the beginning of a wonderful friendship.