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If our parents only knew...

Wednesday, 22 August, 2018 - 2:01 pm

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In November of '93, I was walking home from school and saw my best friend Kyle.

He looked haggard. Desperate.

"You got $500 I can borrow?"

$500? I was 13 years old! Plus, Kyle already owed me $25! 

"Scott, you gotta help me out. I'm in serious trouble."

Summer of fun

Growing up, I was a shy kid. I avoided the spotlight, afraid I'd make a mistake and get laughed at.

My birthday was in early August, during the second month of summer camp. Birthdays were a big event at camp. Attention is poured on the camper, who must give a speech and lead activities.

I preferred quiet birthday parties with my family, and stayed home each August. The summer of '93, Kyle didn't go to camp either. We were thirteen years old.

What an amazing summer! We spent hours biking to the old port, playing basketball, and hanging out at a local arcade. Kyle bought a BB gun, and we practiced shooting at targets in a secluded area near our homes.

At night, we snuck out and met up with friends. There was always beer, and sometimes porn too.

Kyle's transformation

It was at the arcade that Kyle met some older boys who seemed a little dangerous. They were seriously cool, masters of Tekken, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat. 

At first it was marijuana. We were shooting BBs at a sign when he pulled out a doobie and lit it up. He offered me some weed and I politely refused.

One week later, we were biking in Verdun, when he stopped in middle of the street and pulled a bag of powder out of his backpack. "Wanna snort some cocaine?"

It was 10:00 in the morning. "Dude, put that away! What's wrong with you, man?"

He lined up some powder on a can of coke. "Come on, Scott. Get out of your box and have some fun." He snorted the powder, then opened the can and drained the soda.

That night, he started bugging all of us for money. Over the next week, we barely saw him.

Skipping school

When school started, he didn't show. After a couple of days, I dropped by his house. He was high. "School is for losers, Scott."

Over the next couple months, I was swamped with school work. I asked his sister about him, tried calling, even visited his home. But his family always had excuses for why he wasn't available.

Until late in November, when I was on the way home from school and Kyle asked me if he can borrow $500. He looked confused. He looked terrified. And when I couldn't answer him, he walked away.

Next morning, I skipped school. Went to his Dad's office and told him I was concerned about Kyle.

Kyle's family had been in denial, but after my discussion with his Dad, they all sat down for an honest talk.

The reason I'm sharing this

What they discovered was that Kyle was in a lot of trouble.

A friend of Kyle's mom suggested they reach out to Chabad Lifeline which was then Project PRIDE. Kyle and his Dad met with Rabbi Fine, who started both Kyle and his family on the path to recovery and healing.

Kyle returned to school the next year, and only I and the school guidance counselor knew what he had gone through. Today, Kyle lives in Toronto with his family and we are still close as ever.

Why am I writing this blog post now? Because I saw that my friend was in trouble, I did something. I did what I could. I dropped everything and spoke to his Dad, even though I was a shy kid. I know that I saved Kyle's life.

To this day I support Chabad Lifeline because they were part of saving his life too. I saw firsthand how they helped him through his struggles with addiction, and his family through their pain. 

It's Chabad Lifeline's annual raffle and you can save someone's life. Get out there and visit the centre. Talk to Rabbi Fine or Rabbi Bresinger and hear firsthand how they have literally saved families.

And buy a raffle ticket. Your money will be used to help kids like Kyle. Kids who fall through the cracks and need a friend to help them get through their moments of pain.


*Please note: names and certain details were changed to protect the privacy of the people involved. 

Comments on: If our parents only knew...

Frani Pallas wrote...

What a good friend can mean to change your life is shown so clearly by this story. Together with organisations who without passing judgement give help and healing to everyone who needs it. Well done Chabad.