Saving the World

April 6, 2009
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“How wonderful is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank


I believe that every adolescent has once dreamed about being a superhero and saving the world. When they’re older, they throw away those dreams, for how could one person ever accomplish that? I found out how a month ago.

I’d gotten thirty dollars for doing well on a test, and was going to the mall for a new pair of shoes. I’d been eyeing the beautiful sheepskin boots for weeks. The building was soon in sight, a glassy dome with fabulous displays. I smiled giddily as I admired the shoes. Sunlight hit the window at the perfect angle and the boots glowed, making me want them even more.

I almost didn’t notice a homeless man hobbling to a shelter. My heart twisted in sympathy—his beard was untrimmed, his clothes dusty—and I realized how lucky I was.
He paused near a bench to catch his breath. I glanced at his feet and saw that the soles of his shoes were falling apart. People passed by casually, but I lingered, pulling the bills from my pocket. “Sir?”
The man looked at me and smiled. “Yes? Are you lost?”
I handed him the money and said awkwardly, “I think you should have this.”
He looked surprised as his rough hands accepted it. “Thank you,” he answered simply, “very much.”
I was beginning to walk away when I remembered something, and stopped to call, “Buy a pair of those new sheepskin boots!”

I didn’t save the world. But at that moment, it felt like I did. After all, that’s all there is to being a superhero—you help, you change, you help to change. And, like Anne Frank said, nobody has to wait a moment to do it.





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