In 1994, Brandon "Skip" Brooks was on an eighth grade school trip from Delaware to Washington D.C., and it was here that he met Joe Biden, then a Delaware senator.
During a Q&A session, Biden noticed the young boy's stutter, so he pulled Brooks aside and told him how, he, too, had stuttered as a child.
Afterwards @VP Biden pulled me aside saying that he used to stutter as a kid and that he never let it interfere with his life goals. 1/3— Skip Brooks (@SkipBrooks9) July 1, 2015
He gave the boy some good advice
.@vp added that he would purposely seek public speaking opportunities (such as acting in plays) to force himself to speak in public. 2/3— Skip Brooks (@SkipBrooks9) July 1, 2015
and the validation and encouragement every child needs.
.@vp Biden said that I have something important to say and others will wait to hear it. This moment changed everything for me. 3/3— Skip Brooks (@SkipBrooks9) July 1, 2015
The very next day, Biden sent Brooksa handwritten note for good measure. The message was simple and heartening:
It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday. You are a fine, bright young man with a great future ahead of you if you continue to work hard. Remember what I told you about stuttering. You can beat it just like I did. When you do, you will be a stronger man for having won. Also remember, every time you are tempted to make fun of someone with a problem, how it feels when you are made fun of. Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected yourself.
Twenty years passed. This past Wednesday, a now-grown Brooks posted a picture of the note to his Twitter, and wrote how it still inspired him every day.
Just an hour later, he received a reply from a very special person:
.@SkipBrooks9 And it's still true today, my friend. Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected yourself.
— Vice President Biden (@VP) July 1, 2015
So Brooks posted a second photo. In it, he is an adult, being sworn in as a prosecutor by none other than Biden's own son, Beau, who tragically passed in May.
Those small moments, small gestures, count.