By Trevor Romain
To keep me occupied while logging up thousands of miles on airplanes I often doodle on stones. I call them “Hope ROCKS!”
During our USO With You All the Way! Tour, I was at a school on a base in Germany and met a little girl whose was going through a really tough time. She was distraught and sobbing while trying to tell me how she was feeling about her dad being deployed and other struggles she was having.
I happened to have one of my hope stones in my pocket and I gave it to her. I told her that whenever she felt sad or anxious or lonely to hold it in her hand and know there is someone with her all the way.
She smiled, threw her arms around me and thanked me for the rock. She wouldn’t let go. Her teacher had to pry her arms away. “Thanks for the stone,” she said as the teacher led her back to her classroom. “I’ll keep it forever.”
A year later, we were at another school at a different base in Germany. After my performance, I saw a teacher standing nearby with her class. She suddenly put her hand to her mouth and pointed at me. She was sobbing.
Then I saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. Before I knew what was happening I was almost knocked off my feet by a child who ran up threw her arms around me.
I recognized her immediately. It was the same girl who I had given the stone to the year before. She had moved from the base where I had met her and she was now at a different school on another base.
She was crying but smiling at the same time.
“I’m so happy to see you,” I said.
“Me too,” she said. “My daddy is deployed. But look.”
She reached into her pocket and brought out a crumpled and frayed Kleenex. She unraveled it and inside was the stone I had given her all those months before. The doodles were practically worn off the sides.
“You kept it?” I said smiling. “You made my day.”
Her teacher who was standing nearby, still in tears, said, “She didn’t know you were coming. She carries that stone with her every single day.”
“My dad is deployed right now and the stone gives me a lot of hope,” she said, smiling.
The little girl carefully wrapped the rock back into the Kleenex and returned it to her pocket.
Then she noticed me wiping my tears.
She stepped forward with her arms outstretched.
I kneeled down and she gave me a giant hug.
“It’s okay,” she said, patting my back while hugging me. “You’re going to be okay.”
–Trevor Romain is a best-selling children’s book author; award-winning TV personality, and motivational speaker.