How far would you go for a friend?

I recently witnessed an act of compassion and friendship so unexpected, it moved me to tears. And it happened in a very unlikely place: Pelican Bay super-maximum security prison.

I support a program called Defy Ventures, an organization that works with inmates and those recently released from prison who have the drive to someday become successful employees or entrepreneurs. They are “entrepreneurs in training” or EITS.

On this particular day, the EITs in solitary confinement had their graduation ceremony to commemorate completion of the program. They wore caps and gowns, and invited friends and relatives to witness the procession. But Pelican Bay is in a very isolated location in northern California and we wondered if any family or friends would show up.

As it turned out, none of their invitees made the trip–save for one man. He traveled all the way from Phoenix to Pelican Bay, all because his childhood friend was graduating.

They hadn’t seen each other since they were kids, but this man made the journey to witness his friend take these next steps in his life. We were deeply moved.

As they hugged, I was reminded that reaching your goals and making your dreams happen doesn’t matter as much if your friends and family aren’t there, too. It was an inspiring reminder to take the time to be there for your loved ones when they need you.