The most meaningful conversation I've ever had was with one of the special needs kids at my school. I was having a particularly awful day and I was in one of those moods where I've shut myself off from the world lest I blow up at someone or something... so I was deathly quiet and on my way out the school door.
Mike was standing next to the door waiting for his mother to come and pick him up and my mom hadn't arrived yet either so I waited next to the door fuming over some events which had taken place that day. He simply said "hey buddy."
I ignored him.
He asked me, "how yah doin'?"
I could tell that he expected an answer and wouldn't leave me alone until he got one because he just wasn't getting the hint... (I'm not normally this much of a jurk but I really hated the world and everything in it at that moment.) ... so I told him that I was particularly awful and I said it in a snappy way.
Still smiling at me mike said, "oh that sux" without missing a beat or giving me a chance to respond he asked innocently "why?"
I couldn't answer him because it was so much (and yet not enough for me to justify my anger to him.) Here was this kid whose every step through life had been ten times harder then mine, with people being more ignorant to him every day then I'd expect in my entire life time and he was smiling while I got mad at the world. I felt awful and my bad mood was broken. Not because I felt sorry for him, but, because his strength of character was so strong.
"why are you having a bad day?" he persisted.
I simply smiled and said, "I guess I'm not afterall"
"that's good buddy"
I've heard people say that it only takes fifteen minutes to change a person's life and I have always been the first one to help people when they're having problems. I was greatly humbled in the smiling face of Mike that day (as I think he did it in about five.)