He tried so hard to be a role model for the other students in his class, but they were too busy dissecting frogs and paying attention to the teachers. The others thought him a moron for even believing in what he did. When he graduated to the 6th grade he openly admitted that he was a hardcore Christian. Many times he would join a table in the lunch room, bible in hand, and berate the others for not bowing down to his great and powerful God. Now you can imagine what the others did to him after a while; Monday was a swirly, Tuesday he usually got a pretty good wedgie from Rick Thomas, Wednesday they left him alone because after Monday and Tuesday they didn’t feel like expending any more energy on him. Not many people liked being told they would fry in Hell if they didn’t repent and submit.
Now this went on through his schooling until his sophomore year in high school. He was used to being punched in the face and ridiculed by teachers and students alike, but he could take it no more. It was a Friday in November; the sun was out, the air smelled like dying trees and the neighbor’s cocker spaniel was happily shitting on old Mrs. Dugan’s roses. He grabbed a spade shovel and headed for the town cemetery. No one questioned him when he arrived as they were accustomed to him volunteering for all sorts of thing throughout town. He went to the very back, where the wood fences meet to make a 90 degree angle. He began to dig a hole, a proper grave hole. It took him 4 hours and when he was done it was dark, just as he’d expected. He prepared his things for departure.
It was 3 days before the towns people found the body of Rachird Burma. Most were very sad to learn of his fate and said many prayers for him. He was well loved by the people he helped, and those people where many. However there were a lot of people who despised him for being such a goody-good. It was really no reason to hate someone; he was just doing his part to spread kindness and love. His enemies defiled his grave, cursed his name, and did what they could to ensure people started to think ill of him. He did have people who watched over his resting place and cleaned up the trash around it. There was even a guard dog posted there after some weeks because it had gotten so bad.
Rachird had requested his note become public so all could read why he did what he did. It was posted in his church’s foyer for viewing and read as follows:
“My friends, family and enemies; you wonder why I have taken my own life and I shall explain in this letter. Friends and family, I did this so I may converse with the Almighty; so I may gather knowledge for my next life. I have left a great sum of money in my account that will be donated to the community. Use this for educating the children and feeding the hungry. Use this to house people in need and to let them bathe and keep warm. Spread love and kindness with this; do not use it for personal gain, please. I am happy to have spent my life helping those in need and those who would pay it forward or back, however they chose. Thank you all for your kindness and love let the warmth and light surround you always.
To my enemies: may you come to understand kindness and love before you depart from this world and I hope that your terrible deeds are forgiven. I pray that for every sour thing you do to someone, that someone delivers you a single rose. Soon you will see that kindness will overpower and you will find inner peace. You tortured me in life with your words and violence, I would ask why but I know you would only defile my name and my acts of kindness. I have never claimed to be a god or any sort of deity, only a man who wishes to see his fellow man prosper and smile, even on the rainiest of days.
So I ask of you as your friend, brother, enemy, and public servant, to please be kind to one another and practice patience. Do as our Lord instructed us to do and show love in all areas of our life. Your personal religion matters not, only that you accept and give love and a helping hand. One day you will know why I took my own life and you will be thankful for it. It may not impact the whole world, but if it helps to bring a community together then I have done what I set out to do.
Some years had passed since his death and people did what he asked. Everyone helped everyone, but some felt they were being sucked dry and the will to help was fading. Some people decided to take on more than they could handle, others did nothing at all. It was supposed to be a community effort. One winter morning while everyone was at church, Mrs. Lanisbury was out collecting her mail when she suddenly collapsed. No one was around to help except Rick Thomas.
Rick Thomas was Rachird’s archenemy. He did everything in his power to reverse his good deeds. He had bullied him through his whole life and even in death. He was by most accounts, an evil person. Rick was suspected for all manner of crimes that happened in town; dogs found mutilated, homes destroyed, banks robbed, just a whole lot of bad things. He was even suspected to have killed Rachird, though he did not. He did do all those things, but the courts never had evidence and he had more power than anyone gave him credit for.
When he was walking by and witnessed that Mrs. Lanisbury had collapsed, you wouldn’t have expected him to do anything but exacerbate the situation. Instead something came over him, some strange wash of light and warmth. He didn’t know what it was and didn’t even bother to contemplate what it could be. He dashed towards Mrs. Lanisbury and carried her to his car and drove her to the hospital. When he arrived he placed her in a wheelchair and yelled for assistance. The cops immediately cuffed him, thinking he was to blame for her being in the hospital. He was jailed without possibility to get out. This is what the townsfolk had been waiting for; evidence to jail up the monster.
Mrs. Lanisbury made a full recovery and everyone was pleased. The hospital staff discharged her and sent her on her way home. A deputy stopped her before she left the hospital, “Mrs. Lanisbury, did Rick Thomas cause your hospitalization?”
“Why no, he was the one who got me to help. Without him I would be a goner!” she laughed as she left the hospital leaving the deputy scratching his head.
“Mr. Thomas, you are free to go.” Said the cop in attendance.
“Thank you very much.”
“Just one thing before you go; we’ve been wondering why you had a sudden change of heart. The whole town was sure you had hurt Mrs. Lanisbury.”
Rick stopped walking, turned around and a very uncharacteristic smile formed on his face, and he told the officer, “I got to thinking that morning; the morning she collapsed, that maybe Rachird was right. Maybe I ought to be nice to people and not hurt anyone. I took her collapsing as a sign that I could repent and show some much needed kindness to someone. I suppose, if it’s ok with you guys, I make up for all my badness by doing community service, like Rachird did.”
The officers didn’t know what to say. They stood there with their eyes wide and jaws dropped, “Yea… yeah, I guess so.”
“Thank you, have a blessed day.” Rick said. He smiled big and walked out of the police department. The officers noticed something in his smile. His eyes had an odd twinkle in them; a twinkle they knew. It was as if Rachird was looking at them. Later that day the officer who was watching over him at the jail left for home. He pulled in his driveway but didn’t shut his car off yet and sat there thinking about what had happened; he was still confused about all of it. The officer pulled back out and drove to Rick Thomas’ house and parked in front. He walked around back and found out why the change happened. Rick Thomas’ back yard was a rose garden, overflowing with roses. It was incredible, and the officer knew then that kindness had, as Rachird’s suicide note said, prevailed.