People of Note

People come in our lives for a reason. Even the most obscure, random person has a very direct purpose. It's an odd thing to think about. Lately, on the drives back and forth from work I've been thinking about insignificant people who made a big difference.
I had to ride the bus in middle school. It was slightly embarrassing and as I got older, the younger people became more obnoxious and I hated it more each year. From my first step on the black ridged steps, Gavin made a difference in my life for more than an hour and a half every day.
Some people called him a creep. A girl I used to walk with swore that he looked down her shirt every day, but I didn't see him treat or look at anyone differently.
The only decoration I remember was a small, yellow "Rampant Lion" flag stuck to a peg next to his teacher looking name tag.  He had thick gray hair that would grow out to almost his ears before practically shaving his head.  He seemed to have perpetual scruff every day.
Gavin didn't really care what you did on the bus. You could be smoking dope; starting a rave; or pile seventh graders on top of each other and he wouldn't look twice at you. If you stood up; you faced his wrath, which included a powerful Scottish yell, "SEET DOOON!!!" And he would yell it; and glare at you in the reverse mirror over and over until you did.
There weren't a lot of kids on the bus who got bullied; for one reason. Gavin always put a stop to bullying on the bus pretty quick. He wasn't a heavy guy; but he was very "built".  One kid called him out and I'll never forget him charging down the aisle; pretty much shoving the kid off the bus, "Doon't yew everr git on mah bus agin."
After I graduated; I went on a lot of afternoon runs. I remember seeing him barreling that yellow bus down the road; honking the bus horn at me and waving. 

I met this other guy when I was in high school. I can't even remember his name. It was probably like Devin or Dane or something. A lot of my spare time was spent around the English department; especially when I was on the Literary Magazine Staff.
One day; I was having a really hard day. I sat by the window with my notebook just writing everything out. My friend, Brett, waved at me from the bottom of the steps before class; talking with Devin. Devin called me over to talk with them.
When I went down; he introduced himself and proceeded to give me the tightest hug I've ever received. We never had any real opportunities for conversation after that. Whenever Devin saw me after that, he stopped what he was doing and would ambush me with his famous tight hugs.
At the time, I developed a crush on him but he had a pretty steady girlfriend all through high school. Not too long after we graduated, he got in a car accident and died.

Those moments are frozen in time. Gavin, in mid-honk, hand in the air at me at the end of a long run. Devin, squeezing me so tight that for a moment I didn't worry or stress.  I didn't know these guys personally, but they both made a pretty big difference in creating who I am today.  It makes me want to make sure that my brief impressions with people in my neighborhood or other cars on the freeway should be more positive. Make that smile a little wider; wave to them even if you don't like the way they are driving; you know how to do it. Here's to this week; to being better.