Admissions Essay for Harvard
There was something different about that moonlit summer night in the McDonald’s parking lot. Everything was eerily silent. An unseasonably cool breeze blew past me and my friend Greg as we stood waiting for our friend Lance to get off work and join us for a night of hanging out. A dark figure started slowly walking toward us across the lot. As I saw the man move closer, a chill ran down my spine; I had no idea who he was or what his intentions were. Soon he was facing us, and after extinguishing his cigarette and running his hands through his wiry gray hair, he asked us for money. Greg and I lied and told him we had nothing. Nervously, I turned to face the restaurant’s door, waiting for Lance to appear.
“I’m 50,” said the man, still standing and watching us. “But that’s arbitrary. The name’s Frank.” Greg and I stared at him. Lance finally arrived, sodas for all in hand. As we sipped our drinks, Frank told us about his life. He’d faced criminal convictions, alcoholism, unemployment, social rejection, and loneliness. He’d lived in an old Buick for years. Many would have tried to make a timely exit; Greg, Lance and I decided to take him out for coffee on the Massachusetts Turnpike at 1 A.M. I didn’t know what to expect from Frank’s company, but I knew he just needed someone to talk to. I knew I would have wished for the same companionship had I been in his position on a lonely August night.
Sitting in the International House of Pancakes half an hour later, Frank picked at the dessert we’d bought for him. He picked up a blueberry and showed it to us, twisting it around in his dirty fingers. My friends and I watched silently. And we did something rather unusual for us – teenage guys used to hanging out in the suburbs, having fun in any way possible – we just listened. “You know what?” Frank asked quietly. “Someday I’d like to work eight hours for one blueberry, just for the heck of it.” He paused briefly and studied the blueberry, eyes glowing. For one moment, that berry was the only thing that mattered. Looking up at us, he smiled....