Written By Sean Smith
Current Series: What Peyton Means To Me
If you were ever were lucky enough to be around Peyton, you can likely recall the very first time you met him. For me, that day started out as just another day. School let out and I headed to my second job at Stonebridge Golf Course. I would get there early before my shift started to get in some badly needed practice. When I walked into the clubhouse to clock-in, I noticed that we were hiring a new guy to help us during our busy season. Little did I know, this guy would not only be a coworker, but later would become a little brother.
That day, I took Peyton around the course to show him the ropes. During that ride, we began to talk and get to know each other. We had so much in common, it was like I had known him forever. This feeling of familiarity with Peyton was not distinctive to our friendship but rather common to any of his friends. As we were approaching the 18th tee box, we ran into a group of golfers and we stopped the cart to allow the golfers to hit their drives. The final golfer of the group proceeded to hit multiple errant tee shots in rapid succession that progressively got worse. Peyton and I smiled and did our absolute best to refrain from laughing. This only made the situation more hilarious to us. Finally, when the golfers drove off our commitment to silence broke. I have never in my life have laughed as hard as I did on that day. This is one of my favorite memories I have of Peyton. Everyone who has known Peyton can picture his huge smile and hear his hilarious laugh.
Throughout that summer our friendship continued to grow. Whether it was random round of mid-day golf, catching a Grizzlies game, or an impromptu lunch, Peyton was always ready.
A year or so later, Mrs. Weddle asked me to teach Peyton U.S. History. I gladly accepted the opportunity. Peyton was a great student! He always did what was asked of him and went above or beyond in most cases. But that was what Peyton did in all aspects of life. He would go above and beyond. Especially when it came to helping family, friends, strangers, or anyone in need.
I learned a lot about Peyton during that time. Peyton was wise beyond his years and his outlook on life was sublime. He was there when you needed him and always on time. You could entrust him with anything. He even helped me set up the proposal to my wife! He was the most selfless person I have ever known as it was always about others with him. There wasn’t a time when you would talk to him and he didn’t ask how you were doing and if you needed anything. If it was important to you, it was important to him. He was the first friend to come see my son Cooper after he was born. Peyton even brought him a sweater from Vineyard Vines (we all remember how fresh Peyton dressed!).
I always wonder if I taught Peyton anything throughout the course of our friendship. I never, however, wonder if I learned anything from Peyton throughout our friendship. I think I can speak with certainty that Peyton taught all of us. He taught us how be a good friend. He taught us how to help and serve others. He taught us how to love without the expectation of reciprocity. The list could go on and on.
These lessons are needed now more than ever. I implore all of us to use what we have learned from Peyton to make the world a better place. I am forever grateful to have known Peyton and am eager to help forward his legacy.
Sean Smith currently serves on the board of directors for The PEYitforward Foundation and has been a family friend for many years. Peyton and Sean's bond was special and cherished by both.