I was walking down the twisty path at Ithaca College, surrounded by teenagers. It was a week long medical camp at the college called HealthQuest and high schoolers who shared a passion for medicine flocked to the campus. It was on that walk to my next seminar that I first saw Connor Laplant. He was a tall, brown haired guy who was trying to hard to look cool. I saw his baggy knee length shorts, puffy Nike sneakers and fitted grey shirt and I judged him. The thing that most bothered me though was how he walked. He was constantly leaned back and his right foot dragged slightly. I thought it was "swagga" but on a tall, white, guy it looked ridiculous. I was thinking of wise cracks in my head and right before I joked "What are you a gansta today?", something stopped me. A tiny feeling inside said shutup Emily, just shutup. I was confused by it, but I went with my gut and stayed quiet lagged behind in the pack of people.
As we arrived at the Physical Therapy clinic, people shuffled quickly into their seats and I found myself with no one to sit with. The only open spot was next to Connor. Grudgingly I sat down, still feeling like I was plopped next to some wanna-be-seen-it-all before-baggy-pants-wearing-coaster. The kind of person who just rolls through life and goes with the crowd. Boy was I wrong. When we actually started talking, he was surprisingly intellectual, thoughtful, and funny. He had a great smile, easy going laugh, and shared a love of cheesy pickup lines. Connor was great and through the next couple days we became close friends.
It was two days later though, I learned Connor's history. A group of us chose to stay out light in the cool Ithaca air and were seated in a circle on the blacktop, conversing about everything under the moon. It was then Connor told us then four years ago he was in a motorcycle accident. He was riding on a practice track at his home when he got into a crash and suffered a serious head injury. He was airlifted to Syracuse hospital and was in coma for many days. His serious brain injury messed up some of his body functions and they didn't work quite as well as they used too. Hence, why he walked with a slight limp.
Hearing his story made me feel horrible. I thought this just was just trying to be a ganster when really he had a brain injury. All the ideas I had about him were wrong. Don't judge people. You'll most likely be wrong and miss out on a great friend.
** it was a really strong wake up call about not to assume things about ppl but i dont feel my writing is that strong in this piece...help please?