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When I walked through the gates into the senior citizens home for the second time, I looked around for a man that I had only met once but had made an impact on my heart forever. His name was Leo and just like everybody in this world, he had a unique story. Leo had a loving wife and family but with a single signature he lost it all. He got ill and while he was in the hospital, his wife gave him papers to sign. Thinking that they were medical papers, he signed them and when he got dropped off at the police station because he couldn’t pay the hospital bill, he realized that he had gave his wife a divorce, signed away his life savings, house and car. The police brought him to the senior’s home and that’s where this story begins.On a bright and sunny Thursday, we started prepping food for lunch for the seniors. Earlier in the week we decided we wanted to volunteer in some way, so we decided to cook them a yummy tasting homemade SOL lunch. While the chicken was cooking, I headed out to where the seniors were sitting to visit them. Well I don’t really know if visit them is the right word seeing as there is a little bit of an issue called a language barrier, but I’ll go with it. When I walked outside I saw Leo shuffling with his walker towards me. He told me that he hadn’t seen us show up because he must have still been sleeping. Leo worked many years of his life in the United States and can speak very fluent English, so the conversation seemed to easily flow. He told me about his life and all the things he enjoyed doing while growing up, he told me about his past jobs and showed me the ring he was wearing that he made. While remembering his past tears came to his eyes, and I couldn’t help but tear up as well because I felt privileged to have the opportunity to meet such a caring, gentle man that would forever change me. Leo said he wanted to sit down, so we sat down at a table and started coloring. He had to stop half way through because his eyes were in pain and he had trouble focusing, so as I continued coloring a picture for him, he continued telling me a little bit about himself. When I gave him the picture he was so excited because he told me that no matter what he will always have a picture that his new friend gave him. He said that he didn’t have many friends in the seniors’ home but knew that I was a true friend because I took the time to listen. Leo said many kind words that day to me but as we were leaving the center he hugged me and started crying. He told me that I will forever be in his heart and he will be forever grateful for the time we spent together. I told him not to worry; that we would be back to visit and that put a smile back on his face.You may think your life is too busy to sit down and take the time to get to know someone and what they have been through in their life, but when you realize how precious life is, you may think twice. Leo’s face will forever be engraved into my heart and mind. He told me I have changed his life, but he has changed mine just the same. He has taught me that life is too valuable to live without a purpose, to live each moment to its fullest and to truly be grateful for the people you have around you.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: October 21st, 2009