The moment he showed up at school, everybody knew Travis was poor. His clothes were tattered, he never carried any money and his hair was never clean. Usually when a poor kid started school, the bullies picked on him the most. Many of the kids hated that but they were afraid to step in. Mark spotted Travis the first day and he immediately knew there was something different about him. At lunch, Travis was just having a side dish because that was all he could afford. So, Mark bought two full meals and took one to Travis.
“Hi, I’m Mark. I accidentally got two meals today. Can you take one?” Travis’s eyes shone with appreciation at the offer.
“Yes, sure. Hi, I am Travis. I am new here.” Over lunch, the two became good friends.
“Listen Travis. Be careful of the bullies. Ok? They always pick on the poor, umm, er, the new kids and I don’t want to see you get hurt.” Mark advised.
“I’ll be careful. Don’t worry about me Mark. For anything.” Travis smiled. There was that smile again. Usually poor kids did not smile as if they were on top of the world. Travis smiled like that. He was at ease in the school even when the snooty kids wouldn’t talk to him, bumped him or said crude things to him. He just sang a quiet song and walked confidentially down the middle of the hallway with a spring in his step as if nothing bothered him. Even those who wanted to bully him paused and watched him walk away. They were totally puzzled and wondered, what is the deal with Travis?
Suddenly the biggest bully of them all stepped in front of Travis. His name was Rocky and even the bullies feared him. “Hold it right there.” Rocky said. “What are you so happy about? Not many people are happy before they get beaten up.” Rocky said.
“Hello, Travis here.” Travis introduced himself. Then what he did absolutely amazed the whole school. Travis just moved slightly to the left which caused Rocky to move with him and that little fake gave him an opening and Travis slid under Rocky’s arm on the right and continued walking toward the exit.
“TRAVIS!” Rocky called out in anger. “FIVE OCLOCK AT THE BASEBALL FIELD, BE THERE.” He challenged. Travis turned back to Rocky, that very happy grin still on his face.
“Happy to.” He said without a trace of fear or anger almost as if he was making a date to play baseball rather than be abused by Rocky and his boys.
Mark called Travis after school and tried to talk him out of going but no good. Travis acted as if it was going to be fun. He agreed at least to let Mark come with him. They approached the ball field and it was deserted. Travis and Mark started throwing a ball back and forth when the bullies arrived. Rocky’s friends filled the bleachers.
“Ok Travis. No more fooling around.” Rocky said advancing.“Oh I think lots of fooling around.” Travis said and all of a sudden, he was behind Rocky. Rocky swung around and the super quick poor boy was behind him again. When Rocky turned again, Travis smiled and patted his nose. The kids in the stands roared with laughter. Rocky swung his fist to hurt Travis but Travis was too nimble. He grabbed Rocky’s arm and put him to the ground and he did it repeatedly until Rocky lay exhausted and not one punch had been landed. Mark recognized the moves as those only a black belt in judo could have done.
Just then, a car drove up just next to the ball field. But, it wasn’t just any car. It was a very special car. On the side of the car, the words “Your Highness Industries” were written. Your Highness Industries was the factory that made up about 90% of the employment in Mark’s town. The President, Ianoda Haj was a genius of management so everybody who worked there was very well off.
“Well I have to be going now.” Travis said walking to the limousine. The passenger door opened and the tall handsome Adonai got out.
“All done Travis?” He said happily.
“Sure am dad.” The two started to get in the car. All around that baseball field, the people watched, Rocky and Mark just watched with absolute amazement, as the son of the king of the town who everybody thought was a poor kid got into the limo with his dad. Before they took off, Travis leaned out the open window.
“Mark, you gave me food when you thought I was poor. Care to come to the mansion for a nice long visit?” He offered.
“YOU BET!” Mark shouted and he ran to the car where they let him call his mom on the cell phone so he could go to the mansion. Why not? Who wouldn’t want to stay with the son of the king in a mansion with all the luxuries? Any of us would love to have a best friend like that. I know I would.