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THE BRAVEST MAN



"You look'n at me?" asked the large boy balling up his fist.

"Just looking around. That's all," I told him.

"Look here you big eared Dumbo. Hit it on down the road, he said.

I turned and started walking toward the school.

"Oh, leave him alone. He ain't bothering you," said a small Japanese boy, who was standing next to me.

"I'll squash you like a peanut, you little shrimp," said the large boy.

The large bully walked over and stood directly in front of the small Japanese boy. He folded his arms across his chest and just stood there.

"I ain't afraid of you," said the small boy.

The large boy, without warning, slapped the boy across the face as hard as he could. The boy fell to the ground and sat there stunned. Within several seconds, the boy got back on his feet and charged toward the large bully at full force. What happened next was not a pretty site. When the fight was over, the Japanese boy had a cut on his top lip and several major cuts on his forehead.

"That'll teach you to keep your Jap nose out of my business," said the bully as he turned and walked away with his friends.

I walked over to the small boy and thanked him for standing up for me. He and I walked down Spring Park Road, until we came to the orphanage where I lived.

The next morning, I walked to school with several of the boys from the orphanage so the bully would leave me alone. Standing on the playground all by himself was the Japanese boy. He had one bandage on his face and another swapped around his head.

Just as we were about to speak, the bully came walking toward our group. When he arrived, no one said a word. All at once, the Japanese boy again ran full force into the bully knocking him to the ground. The bully jumped to his feet, grabbed the small boy by his hair and swung him around in a circle.

"Leave him alone. Leave him alone," everyone started yelling.

The Japanese boy stood his ground. He stood with his feet spread apart, breathing really hard.

"I ain't afraid of you," he said.

Suddenly, the bully rushed toward the small boy and spun him around. As he turned around, the bully kicked the boy in the rear end as hard as he could, knocking him to the ground. Then the large boy laughed and started walking toward the school building.

"I'll be here when the bell rings," yelled the Japanese boy.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," yelled the bully.

Sure enough when school let out that afternoon, the small boy was waiting outside the front door of the school. We all stood in a half circle around him waiting to see what would happen. All became quiet when the bully and his buddies appeared in the doorway. The bully slowly walked down the steps and then stopped. No one said a word. The large boy reached into his back pocket, took out a handkerchief and wiped his face. Slowly, the bully walked over to the Japanese kid and stopped directly in front of him. They both just stood staring at each other.

"YOU KNOW WHAT KID? Said the bully staring directly at him. "You are the bravest kid I have ever known."

Then he stuck out his hand and just stood looking down at the boy. Slowly and very carefully, the small boy reached out and shook the hand of the bully.

I am not exactly sure what all happened that day on the playground. I attended Spring Park Elementary School for another two years after that incident. The larger boy never did bully anyone, ever again. In fact, he turned out to be a very nice boy - a boy who would stand up for anyone that was being bullied by someone else.



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