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Who Understands Him Best?

Who Understands Him Best?
Award Winning English essay writing topics, sample examples for school, college students and Competitions. International Essay Contest for Young People 2011 Award Winning Essays.

"Who Understands Him Best?"


These words of my father's changed me.


At the nearby supermarket where my mother and I often go shopping together, there was a disabled man working. He twisted his legs in strange ways when he walked. I think he would have been tall if his spine were stretched long, but because he was always stooped with rounded shoulders, he appeared very small. I wasn't sure if I felt sorry for him or just felt badly, but for some reason, I tried to keep him out of view. If I caught sight of him, I would purposely take a roundabout route, use a different entrance, or otherwise try to avoid meeting him. When I happened to run into him, I hurriedly left that area.


One time, I was waiting in the car while my mother was shopping. I was casually looking out my window, when he popped into view. Since there was nothing to do, I watched him absentmindedly. He was busily working, holding a broom in one hand and looking for trash in the parking lot. As usual, he called out, "Irasshaimase! (Welcome!)" to each new customer, bowing his head briefly. As I watched him, I somehow felt pity for him.


Why is he doing this job? He should just quit. Why is the store manager making a disabled person work? Another person could probably work faster and do more. I wonder if they're forcing him to do it. On my own, I imagined all kinds of things. At dinner, when I was telling my older sister about what happened that day, my father spoke up.


"Who do you think understands that man best? Another person might be able to do the job faster, but then the disabled man would have no place to work, even though he wants to. I think the store manager hired that man because he understands him very well."


I was shocked. The person I had thought was being mean to the disabled man was really the one who understood him best. Having made my own assumptions, I had quickly created a biased view. When I realized this, I was able to see everything differently. When I looked around carefully, everything from the store to the parking lot was clean and tidy. This was due to the disabled man's work. And, I noticed that when he said, "Irasshaimase!" bowed his head, and lifted it up again, he had a smile on his face. The customers were smiling, too. I felt very ashamed that I had been viewing him differently.Interactions between people can differ just by the way we look at things. I should have realized sooner that I could end up with a disability myself some day, and that having a disability is nothing special. There are many disabled people in our society. In order to create a society that is pleasant for everyone, I think it is very important for all of us to be considerate and helpful toward each other, and to have an understanding of public welfare and the readiness to take an active part in it.


Recently, when I was at the supermarket, I got up the courage to say "Hello" to the disabled man. He looked surprised, then gave a big smile and returned my greeting. It was a simple greeting that took only a few seconds, but it made me feel very happy. I want to do whatever I can to become a person who is naturally able to help others, and to create a wonderful society in which everyone is kind and supportive of each other.

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