Justice: a World Gratitude Day Post

Matt Beyer
2 min readSep 21, 2021

[Taken from a personal LinkedIn post on 9/21/2021]

I’ve been thinking of posting this for a few weeks now and I figured that, now that it’s World Gratitude Day, this would be the perfect opportunity to say thank you to one of the most genuine people I’ve known growing up: my former high school classmate, Justice.

Justice and I went to the same school district and we often shared the same classes, one of these being an AP English course. On one particular day, our teacher had the class sit in a Socratic circle to discuss the previous night’s reading. Now, it should be noted that, at this point in my life, I was an extremely shy, self-conscious, and unpopular teenager, and was petrified of making my opinions heard for fear of negative scrutiny.

Leading up to one pivotal moment, there was nothing particularly unique about that day. I was feeling the same old internal struggle between wanting to contribute to the discussion and the fear of group ostracism.

But then something different happened.

When Justice’s time came to speak, she expressed her own ideas, then turned to me, and said,

“Matt, did you have anything you wanted to talk about?”

Truth be told, the addressal was a bit shocking at first, but a pleasant one, and though I couldn’t help but stumble through my words at first, I eventually got to expressing my perspective on the topic at hand.

That one brief interaction acted like a shot of dopamine: though there was a brief moment of alarm, the action she took left a lasting impact that still stays in my memory to this day. I can still remember energetically traversing from class to class that day, a subtle smile on my face and a sensation of warmth ruminating within me.

But what makes this moment even more special to me is that, prior to this, we weren’t even that close of friends.

While we occasionally interacted with general amiableness similar to that of familiar classmates, we didn’t talk to each other very often. And yet, despite not being very close, she did a massively underappreciated act: she talked to the quiet kid. She recognized the silent minority in the room and helped provide them a voice.

That is the mark of a great leader, and it’s something I think we can all take with us.

So, if you’re reading this, thank you, Justice. Thank you for reaching out and for your kindness not only towards me, but to those around you. And just like how you recognized me, I want to give you the recognition you deserve too.