Consider using interpolated tale (a "twice told tale to add some flair. An interpolated tale, used by the likes of none other Charles Dickens and Joseph Conrad, are stories within stories, where the character in one story goes on to tell a story that illuminates and adds meaning to the larger story as well.
Build your essay around a central point, a main idea that your story then supports and explains. This is crucial, and perhaps the defining characteristic between a narrative-as-story and a narrative-as-essay. Even if the essay as a whole primarily uses another method of development, the narrative paragraph can be incorporated into an essay to support a topic sentence in a particular paragraph and to establish a bit of ethical appeal at the same time.
See the page about unity and coherence for more information on this subject. Principles of Narratives T elling a story and writing a narrative essay are not the same thing at all. I am thinking here of how effectively former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were at incorporating some small personal narratives into speeches, press conferences, or interviews. Both might be talking about a larger subject, say the economy, and both would slip in a small aside about a conversation they had had with a local merchant, who taught them how.