Sometimes people come into our lives for a reason

The Friday of Labor Day weekend, I went to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things before I headed home. An older man was a greeter and saw that I was wearing my track and field shirt. As I was about to leave, he said, “Do you know Rach–, well, what’s your name?” 

I replied, “I’m Rachel Astleford.” 

I had never seen someone so excited to hear my name. 

He told me he had just read my article that I wrote about setting goals and not settling for average in The Collegian the night before and that he was going to try to reach out to me so that he could meet me. He went on to say that just by reading my article, he could tell that I was an exceptional writer and had the intellect of someone who was twice as old as me. 

He told me that he was going to give me an assignment, (he had been an English teacher for more than 20 years, so he loves handing out assignments). I had to read four different books about setting goals and how to make a difference, and then I had to spread the word to my peers and help as many people as I could. 

I told him I was down for it. 

I remember walking out of Wal-Mart with a huge smile because it was validating to hear someone say such nice things.

He took me out to eat last Friday night and gave me the four books. Inside the cover of each book was a little inspirational note from him and his signature. He told me that if I ever needed a “kick in the ass” or any help at all, he’d be there for me.

A stranger, who had never met me before and had only read my 500-word article, had the graciousness to reach out and talk to me. It meant so much to me. 

I truly believe that every person we meet in our lives is meant to be there for a reason, and he is one example. What really struck me was how coincidental this all was. He had just read my article the night before. What were the odds that I would come into Wal-Mart the next morning and meet him?

I’m sure we have all encountered situations similar to this. Of course, some situations aren’t as desired as this one. Some of the acquaintances we make end up doing more damage to us than healing. However, I still strongly believe we were meant to make those acquaintances. 

You may wonder why we are meant to encounter someone who would just take advantage of us or harm us. My answer would be that we are supposed to learn from it. I can tell you that I’d be a lot more naïve if I had never had any rough relationships with people. Those people made me stronger and wiser. 

The people who harm us during our lifetime make us value the people who love us so much more. They make us appreciate the strangers who come into our lives and make us smile again. 

So next time you meet someone, just remember that you were meant to meet them for a reason. And sometimes that can be on a random Friday morning in Wal-Mart.

Rachel Astleford is a nutrition & dietetics major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]