This “thank you” was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I went to school with David from my early years of elementary school up until the start of high school when he went to TP and I went off to CCA. The funny thing is though, is that David and I have never really been “friends.” In fact; David and I probably have exchanged no more than 50 words to each other over the course of our lives. Growing up, I would always see him with his teacher aid in the classroom, on the playground, or around the neighborhood. David is mentally challenged and so although he was in my classes here and there, I never really had the chance to develop a relationship with him. Here’s the thing: all throughout my life I have seen him go through tough challenges inside and outside the classroom. I would hear kids say terrible things about him and I would see him get bullied often. But the amazing thing is that David would always, ALWAYS, keep a smile on his face, and he wouldn’t react to what people said about him. He kept his head high, and sometimes I would watch him sort of chuckle to himself, and I loved that. I absolutely freakin’ loved the fact that he let things go, he kept his courage, and he kept, moving, forward. David really came into play in my life when I started to get bullied for possibly being gay. When I would hear things and be made fun of, I thought of him, my inspiration. David is a role model. He’s lives a beautiful life and touched so many others, and yet I wondered, and still do, if he’s ever been told that. Well, I had the opportunity of a lifetime, and I took it. I was sitting at the top of my neighborhood in my car on the side of the road on the phone before I continued since I would lose service. As I’m on the phone, I saw David walking on the other side of the street with his mom. They were getting closer and closer and I realized in that moment that I hadn’t seen David in over 4 years. Better yet, I wasn’t sure when the next time I would see him would be. By now he was directly to my left across the street, about to pass. That’s when it clicked. “I’ll call you back” I blurted to my friend on the phone. Before she could say anything I had hung up and had the window rolling down. “David!” I yelled. “Can you come here for a second!? I’m Brian! I went to school with you years ago!” For the next 2 minutes I thanked him on the spot, his mom listening from across the street. 2 minutes later he was on his way up the hill again as I sat in silence as I started the car again. Had that really happened? Hell yeah it did. And it had brought tears to my eyes. Why did it seem like I was the first person to ever thank him like that? It makes no sense to me. People like him, people like any of you reading this right now, people like ALL of us need to be appreciated and told of it more often, especially because you never know when it’s too late. This moment was a reminder of why I love this project. David thank YOU so much for being such an inspiration in my life. Thank you for always having such a genuine smile on your face, and thank you for NEVER giving up. Thank you for your perseverance and courage, your bravery and your optimism. Thank you for being you, David; one of the most quality human beings on this earth.