You Don't Need Thousands of Followers to Change Lives: Here are 5 Stories That Prove It

Itxy Lopez

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My grandpa had a stroke ten years ago. He spent days in the hospital, and one of my tias (aunt, in Spanish) visited him every day.

My tia is one of the funniest people I know — she pulls jokes out of thin air and pulls pranks that always end, “Ay, tia.” She gets along with everyone, from the employees at the grocery store to my cousin’s twelve-year-old friends.

It didn’t take long before she became a light in my grandpa’s shared hospital room. She started talking to the other patients and made them laugh every night. Eventually, word started spreading and other patients started wandering out of their rooms and into the one she was in. They’d hang out there, joke around, and get a chance to receive the sunshine my tia radiated.

A story about lending a hand

We’d just arrived at Target. My dad and I were walking in the parking lot when we noticed a pair trying to fit a big tv into a small car, so my dad went and helped them.

He tried to move the seats down, tried to shove in the tv at different angles, but it wouldn’t fit. “Where do you live?” my dad asked the couple.

“Just a couple of blocks from here,” the man said.

My dad nodded and then he turned to me and said, “Go inside and get what we need, I’m going to give them a ride.” The couple was shocked. But after a moment, the man and my dad carried the tv to our car, and it fit easily inside the trunk. As I shopped, my dad drove one of them home with their brand new tv.

A story about helping people in need

A man from Haiti was recently beaten terribly at the San Ysidro-Tijuana border. A few other vendors became jealous at how well he was selling products in the long border lines, so they beat him, worsening an injury he’d received from the earthquake in Haiti back in 2010. They left him there, knocked out, and now, paralyzed.

My tia (the sister of the first aunt mentioned above) read this all in the police report. Apparently, he was in need of a wheelchair, and my tia remembered that they had an extra one at home — an old one my grandpa no longer uses.

After work, she went to pick up the wheelchair, and she and my grandma drove miles, into another pueblo filled with Haitian immigrants, just to give this man they’d never met a wheelchair he couldn’t afford.

A story about selflessness

In the ’70s, my grandparents used to live in a small house in Tijuana, Mexico with four kids — my mom was the youngest at the time. There wasn’t a bath with warm water. The bathroom was outside. The floor was made of dirt. There were also no windows. There were holes in the wall with bars in between, like a jail cell, and my grandma had put whatever she could find to keep the mosquitos and rain from coming in.

My grandma knew they needed money to buy windows, so she started selling food. (My grandma makes the best food.) She would sit outside and sell food and snacks to all the kids in the street— kids who absolutely adored her. (My grandma was in her 20’s at this point.)

After some time, she made enough to buy windows. So, she walked to the nearest place where they sold windows, which wasn’t close, and she carried those windows all the way home. Walking the whole time. Anything to make sure her kids wouldn’t freeze at night.

A story about love

We live with my grandparents (my dad’s parents) because we currently don’t have the money to afford our own place. The house isn’t small, but it’s not big enough to hold two families’ worth of, well, everything.

My parents and brother share one room, and my sisters and I share the other. Because there’s not enough space in the kitchen or the storage room, everything we own — everything that should fit in an entire house––is in these two rooms.

Inside mine and my sisters’ closet are clothes for three people, two guitars, all the necessary items (like lotion and hairbrushes), a couple of boxes of KIND bars, and even sanitary products because there’s not enough space in the one bathroom either.

But mine and my sisters’ room is organized. That’s because my parents took it upon themselves to take the worst of it. Their room isn’t dirty, but their closet and just about every corner of their room is jammed with board games and books and clothes and storage boxes filled with batteries and other items.

They did that on purpose. They keep everything in there so that my sisters and I have a space to breathe and relax.

I Can Tell So Many More Stories

I didn’t even get to my siblings, but the point is this: each and every person touched a life or two or even ten. They didn’t plan it, they didn’t work for it, they did it naturally. Because being a good, helpful person is easy.

We’re always striving to get thousands of followers and subscribers on social platforms because we want to change lives. Hell, we might even give up on our dreams because we’re not making the impact we thought we’d be making. But we’re forgetting that we are already making a difference.

In one way or another, every day, you change the world. Just a little bit. In some way, you make someone’s life better. With every article you publish, you help one person. Every time you merely listen to someone, you make a difference. When you choose to buy a homeless person a cup of coffee or even put the grocery cart where it’s supposed to, you’re making someone’s life a little easier.

I’m not saying you can’t aim to get a million followers and help hundreds of thousands of people. I’m saying not to forget you’re already important. You’re even living your purpose as you read this because by reading this, you’re helping me live my dreams.

Don’t count yourself out. Don’t define your greatness by a bunch of numbers. You have worth and purpose merely because of the choices you make every day.

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San Diego County, CA
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