Differences Are Celebrated

| IL, USA | Awesome, Employees, Health & Body, Kind Strangers

(I grew up in a fairly small town, and all through high school, I worked at a local farm, selling produce at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. It’s only a few days before I leave for college in a much larger city, and I’m worrying about how much it’ll cost to live there, when one of my favorite customers comes up. I suspect he has some sort of developmental delay or had an accident or something, since his speech patterns tend to be very halting and he has trouble focusing his eyes, but he’s always polite and lovely and a pleasure to talk to, so I don’t think much of it. We’re chatting as he chooses what he wants, about $10 worth of produce, and he hands me a twenty-dollar bill.)

Customer: “Do you have singles?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no; it was a busy day today. Are two fives okay?”

Customer: *grinning* “Two fives are fine.”

(I give him his change, and he immediately hands one of the fives back to me.)

Customer: “This is for you. You’re always so friendly and polite when I come here. You don’t make me feel bad, or try to hurry me through what I’m saying. I know you’re leaving soon, and this is my way of saying thank you.”

Me: “You really don’t have to. You’re always so nice; I enjoy it when you come by!”

Customer: “Please, take it. I love coming here; you never make me feel different, or bad. Have a great time at college, and thank you!”

(I’m almost in tears by this point, and I can hardly get out a ‘thank you’ as he collects his vegetables and gives me one last smile. I’ve only seen him a couple times since then, but his kindness made a stressful time so much better!)

A Thoughtful Gesture By Principal

| USA | Awesome, Family & Kids, Teachers

(During my senior year of high school, my mother passed away from stage-four lung cancer on the day before Thanksgiving. Since her passing, it has been a really difficult time for my family and with the holidays being right around the corner makes it a lot harder for us money wise. My mother was well known around my school district for being on the school board and volunteering within the community so during her battle and after her passing, my school has been nothing but great to my family. During the final class on the day before school lets out for Christmas break, I am called down to the principal’s office and when I see my dad sitting in the office waiting for me, I am not really sure what to expect, until the principal hands me a gift bag.)

Principal: “I know this has been a really tough time for your family and I wanted to give you my deepest condolences once again for your loss. [My Name] is a wonderful student and your family is well-respected within our district. We wanted to do something a little bit special for your family for the holidays.

(I open the bag and see a bunch of Christmas cards, gift cards for different restaurants and stores, and a bunch of Christmas cookies and candy inside, and look back at my principal speechless.)

Principal: “Your family has been a wonderful addition to our district and we couldn’t appreciate everything your mother did for us. Some of your teachers and other staff members in this school have each bought a gift card to a restaurant or store to help make this difficult time a little easier for you. I have a list of the staff members who helped contribute and I will read the names to you.”

(As the principal reads the list names of everyone, my father and I looked at the gift cards and each of them are worth more than 100 dollars. When he finishes, my dad and I are both close to tears and I am too speechless to even speak.)

Dad: “I don’t even know how to thank you for what you’re doing for my family.”

Principal: “You don’t have to thank me. [My Name] is a wonderful student and all of her teachers love having her in their classes. And [Mother] will be missed by everyone in this district. This is our way for giving back to you for all that you have done for our school. If there is anything else we can do for your family, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are here for you.”

(My dad and I left the principal’s office a couple minutes later in tears. It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done to us during an extremely difficult time. My father wasn’t sure how he was going to get through Christmas after the funeral expenses and the gift cards have helped us a lot!)

The Most Important Life Lessons, Part 2

| CA, USA | Teenagers Are Great

I told my students that I hadn’t finished planning the rest of their unit because my mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital, but that I was doing my best to keep them on track.

Two days later, 15 or so kids stop in at break with cards, homemade treats, poems (!), and drawings of encouragement. I burst into tears. Their kindness made it possible for me to get through a tough week.

Related:
The Most Important Life Lessons

The Most Important Life Lessons

| TX, USA | Awesome, Money, Students, Teachers

My school’s baseball coach/government teacher is diagnosed with cancer around Christmas time.

To help raise money for the family, our service organizations band together and organize a day where, instead of having classes like normal, we have various activity periods that students are charged a dollar per session to attend. In addition, students can pay to have a color streak put in their hair, and several of the boys (and some teachers) agree to get their heads shaved if a certain amount of money is raised.

Of course, not all of our students can afford to pay to participate, but the student council has a solution for that. Students can sign up to come in after school and do some work for a teacher, and the teacher will sponsor them.

There are about 200 students in our school. We raised a few thousand dollars.

Scared You Will Come To Bows

| CA, USA | Awesome, LGBTQ, Students

(I am a student teacher working in an American and Contemporary Literature class with eleventh and twelfth graders. While I am biologically female, I identify as genderfluid and dress in a very masculine fashion. As a result, my attire occasionally includes bowties. We are at the computer lab working on research papers when a student of mine – a star athlete at the school – calls me over.)

Me: “What’s up, [Student]?”

Student: “So, I notice that sometimes you wear bowties.”

Me: “That I do.”

Student: “I was actually wondering if you could teach me how to tie a bowtie.”

(I find this to be very sweet, but I also can’t help chuckling.)

Me: “I actually have a confession to make: I don’t know how to tie a bowtie, either. Almost all of my bowties are pre-tied or clip-on.”

Student: “Oh, really?”

Me: “Yeah. You wanna know the funny part, though? My fiancée can tie bowties, and she doesn’t even wear them.”

Student: “No way. So she ties them for you?”

Me: “Yep! I mean, I only own a couple of bowties that I need tied, anyway. Like I said, the rest are clip-on.” *jokingly* “Sorry that I’m kind of a phony when it comes to that!”

(My student and I both laughed before he went back to work. Sometimes I feel like teenagers are more accepting and tolerant of others’ appearances than adults are!)

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