The year was 2010. San Clemente beach A teenager, the youngest of his friends are out drinking. He’s sixteen, the rest are in their 20’s. Its about midnight, past curfew.

The boy was a bit emotionally disturbed, chowing on pain pills like they were candy, depressed, and alone in his head. He’s wearing a black pea coat that he purchased online from a gothic webstore. He’s been through a lot emotionally, and it shows through the way he dresses and acts. Such an angsty and angry child.

Anyway, the group walks along the pier, merrily joking. A cold salty breeze blows and a stranger, a woman in her 30’s gets their attention, asking for a lighter for her cigarette. Without hesitation the boy walks to her and lights it, not paying much thought to it. His friends say “why did you do that? She could be a serial killer for all we know.” to which he replies “Dude, we’re in San Clemente. The worst that happens is what we’re doing right now.”

30 minutes later, this group is sitting atop the life guard tower, opening another beer after another. The boy, with a strange feeling in his guts says out loud “Something is wrong. I need to go back.” The eldest of the group comes along with him. He walks to the woman to see that she’s covered in blood, and once again, without hesitation, he reacts. He breaks into the bathroom, wrapping his coat around his hand to punch the window. Takes a handful of paper towels and wets them. Takes another handful of dry paper towels and brings it to her. Its evident that she fell. Possibly concussed. Possibly intoxicated.

She asks him why he returned. Asks him if he’s her guardian angel. He looks to see the cross around her neck, and though he didn’t believe in a god, maybe believing that god has let him down, says to her “I guess God’s got your back or something.”

He sits with her on the bench. She pours her heart out. Tells him she’s lost her child. Tells him she drinks to kill the pain. Tells her there’s no family around to help her in her time in need, and she cries. He hugs her, letting the tears and snot drip all over his $250 dollar peacoat. When she was done crying, there’s only silence. He notices her pensively staring at the ocean below them. He reacts.

“Don’t you dare fucking do it, lady.” And she knew that he knew. She knew that he knew that she knew that she wanted to end it all. To die. And she cries. She thanks him. She insists that he’s her guardian angel.

He asks for any contacts. Anyone he could call to let them know she was okay. He’s given a phone number to a brother and sister in law up north in Sacramento. Its around 2 or 3 AM by now and a sleepy sister in law answers. He lets her know the details about what has happened. She thanks him. He hears the appreciation in the tone of her voice, and he’s confused to why people keep on thanking him. He felt that it was what’s supposed to be done. He felt like the thanks was completely unnecessary.

Fast forward an hour later. He’s called an ambulance after the phone call with the sister in law, and the ambulance arrived with 3 police cars. The lights illuminate the dark pier and takes her. At least she’ll be some place warm. They could check out her head and see if she’s concussed. Either way, people will be taking care of her. The funny thing is, the police thanked him as well. They didn’t really noticed that he was underaged and was out past curfew.

Its about 4 am now. After the police and ambulance has left, his friends approach him. Obviously they were worried about the underaged drinking. They drive home, merrily joking.
The boy puts his key in the lock and turns the doorknob. Its 5 am. His mother is crossed, sitting on the love seat, angry that he’s home so late. He explains what has happened. Maybe she was glad that she raised a son with a heart, because all she said was “You’ve had a long night. Get some rest.”

That’s the end of it. This story is rarely told. He doesn’t want the recognition. He just wants others to do the same, to make a difference in the lives of others. To be compassionate and selfless. He wants others to take care of others, and to make sure that some sort of suffering can end. Thinking about it now, he realized he wanted to be the person that wasn’t there for him. He believes that goodness exists in people, so in doing so, he felt that it was necessary to have that compassion in the world

We are glad to share this story with you in hopes that you will make a difference in someone’s life. And if you are currently hurting, we hope that that is the catalyst for you to do good for others.

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