The Martyrdom of Andy Drake

This story is adapted from a 2nd helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Andy Drake was a nice young man whose classmates liked but they harassed him. He took the kidding in stride and warmly said, “Thank You.” The fifth graders seem to use Andy as their relief from their own pressures.  They had a little saying that referred to the family as being on welfare.

It was perhaps surprising that Andy took this negative attention in order to be accepted into the group.  Andy’s father was in prison, his mother took in laundry, and Andy’s hygiene was not good.

One day someone said, ‘we don’t want him in our group.’  So, our group of friends basically said stay away from us.  As I look back on it, that was wrong and I felt shame.  I ran across a saying:  “The hottest corners of hell are reserved for those, in the time of crisis, remain silent.”

I knew I was uncomfortable at the time but I didn’t object.  I don’t know why Andy had to endure this kind of rejection. I ended up telling Andy that we didn’t want him as part of our group.  Andy didn’t object. He looked sad, turned away, and rode off on his bike toward home.  I knew at the time I was wrong but I complied with the groups’ decision.

Andy started missing school and finally withdrew. We never saw him again.  I have lived with that moment etched in my memory.  I don’t know if he will ever read this apology.  I am ashamed of what I did, I have never turned my back on another Andy Drake, and I commit to never be silent when I see or hear an injustice happening in front of me.

Ben Burton