The incident took place a few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics. The Special Olympics is a competition, which is open to mentally retarded and mentally disabled children. In this competition, youngsters, each with some form of disability, compete against each other. Everyone was tense. The race was getting ready to start. Nine children, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 1 00-yard dash.
As the starter fired the shot that started the race, all the children in the race started to run. Well, not exactly in a dash like other children might have started to run. They all started with a relish and determination to run the race to the finish and win. They wanted so much to be like other children. Their proud parents sat in the stands.
All the youngsters started out in that race except one little fellow who was so determined to win that he accidentally slipped and stumbled on the asphalt. Because he had built up such a tremendous thrust, he tumbled over and over and rolled uncontrollably on the ground. When he finally came to a halt, he began to cry.
The other eight children in the competition, who were well ahead of the one who fell, heard the boy cry. They looked back, and when they saw what had happened, they not only slowed down, they began to walk back to the child who had fallen.
One little girl with Down's syndrome, who was slightly older than the others, ran over to the youngster who had fallen and she held his bruised knee. She bent over and kissed the knee, adding, "This will make it all better." The others helped him up. Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.
Everyone in the stadium stood up! The cheering went on for several minutes as tears filled the eyes of those who saw the incident.
People who were in the stands are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down every one of us knows that what really matters in this life is more than simply winning for ourselves... What matters is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.