While sitting on a recent Southwest Airlines flight, I got to talking with a kind man next to me—we talked about our lives and I mentioned how passionate I am about teaching. He then asked me what the greatest challenge was that I’ve ever faced in my career. I was honest, and told him that working at a low income school can be heartbreaking—then, something amazing happened.
We talked about the world and how no child should ever do without; I believe that in 2018, kids should never be hungry or in need of anything.
He then asked for my work contact information. You can imagine my surprise as he told me that his company likes to donate items, time, and service for schools such as mine. I was not intending for him to say that, and then gave him my school email. But the kindness of a stranger didn’t stop there.
The man behind me tapped my shoulder. I turned around and he apologized for listening in to my conversation, and he handed me a wad of cash. As he handed me this gift, he looked at me and said, “do something amazing.” I was in complete awe that my story had touched the lives of these two strangers. As I looked at the gift the man handed me, I realized that there was $100 on top, and started to cry. I thanked him and told him how I would buy my students books and give back to the community—I would do everything in my power to truly “do something amazing” for these kids. I didn’t count the money in that moment, but I would later find out that he gave me $500.
As the plane landed, the man on the aisle across from me told me that he had listened in on my conversation with these men, as well. He said that he didn’t have much, but he gave me $20.
As if my heart couldn’t be any happier, the man in front turned around as well. He also handed me money, and said that he only had $10. Overwhelmed by the generosity of these strangers, I started to cry on the plane. I told all four men that I would do something amazing for the kids. I was not telling my story to solicit money, and never intended to walk out of that flight with anything other than my carryon. I do however hope that posting this continues the chain reaction of people helping those in need, and especially the children in need. It doesn’t have to be a school in Chicago, and any bit helps!
My heart is in complete shock and awe right now. When the world seems crazy, there are always good people. I would do anything for my students, and want to thank these strangers. I don’t know the name of the man who gave me the $500 or the other generous strangers, but they deserve to be recognized. I am thankful for the good people in this world. No child should ever go without anything, and this experience has made me want to do more for the kids; I plan to use my gift of speaking to help others in need. I want to pass this story around, and thank those strangers and their amazing hearts!