There are a few obvious milestones in life which people will typically think of as their proudest moment. The birth of a child, for example. Or that child graduating from university. Mine are both too young. These are things which stand out as obvious proud moments and when I sat looking at this prompt I got to thinking. Should I be proud of a birth? My efforts were small compared to the efforts of Mum. She carried baby for nine months and nurtured life. She went through labour whilst I stood and watched feeling foolish. Is that something I should be proud of? Billions upon billions of men have become dads. Proud? Perhaps. Proudest moment? Greatest achievement? Perhaps not.
I considered whether my decision to join the police and my acceptance into ‘The Job’ would be my proudest moment. Of course I was proud! Thousands applied when I did and only 26 were successful. That is an achievement to be proud of for sure but it is just the start of a career which could be stellar or mediocre. Thus far I feel like I fall into the latter and are yet to realise my full potential.
There is one event which stands out for me and it is simple and singular. Personal between me and one other.
One day walking through the town centre doing some shopping; performing general, ordinary day-to-day activities I was approached be a man. He said,
“Excuse me, I am sorry to bother you, but I just wanted to shake your hand and say thank you. You see, you probably don’t recognise me but I recognised you straight away. Six months ago you came to my house when I was having a tough time. You sat with me and you spoke to me and you made me feel like I had something to live for. I wanted to end my life that day but you made me stop and consider. Thanks to you I am still here. I cannot thank you enough and I just wanted you to know.”
At that he thrust his hand out and I shook it – bewildered – and he walked away. I didn’t even get an chance to reply before he was lost in the crowds. I never saw him again. It took me some time to remember the day he was talking about but eventually I did and I was able to put a face to a name. I never chased it up. I left him to get on with his life. I appreciated his kind gesture as he appreciated my intervention.
You see, we do things in life that have an impact. My time with this man meant he was still living. He was still alive. Even if I go to my deathbed having never achieved anything in my life and in my career I will always know that once upon a time, through words and kindness, I saved a life.