As a child in Alabama, Forrest is forced to wear braces on his legs to correct his spine. The grade-school principal is reluctant to let him attend public school, as Forrest has an IQ of just 75. Even as Mrs. Gump tells Forrest that he is no different from anyone else, it's obvious that he's very different and very special. Forrest takes his mother's words to heart, lives completely without guile and frequently follows the advice of his girlfriend, which is to run. As a result, he manages to live quite a remarkable life. Forrest will go on to influence Elvis Presley's stage persona, become a football star, visit President Kennedy, become a Vietnam War hero, receive the Medal of Honor, meet President Johnson, become a world-champion ping pong player, go on television with John Lennon and a very young Dick Cavett, shake hands with President Nixon and become a wealthy businessman. Meanwhile, the love of his life, Jenny, is more troubled. Abused by her father as a child, she seems to be in constant torment, latching on to anarchic lifestyles until she eventually figures out how to make peace with herself. Other memorable characters deeply affected by Forrest include a shrimp boat fisherman who becomes his best friend in the army and a sergeant who is seriously wounded in the war.