Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!

A Teacher

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very
first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most
teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all
the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row,
slumped in his seat,was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he
did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy
and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be
unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually
take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold
X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to
review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last.
However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with
a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… He is
a joy to be around..’

His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student,
well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has
a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’

His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on
him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much
interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t
taken.’

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t
show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he
sometimes sleeps in class.’

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of
herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas
presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for
Teddy’s.

His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper
that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in
the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh
when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing,
and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.

But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the
bracelet was,
putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy
Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs.
Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’

After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that
very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead,
she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to
Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more
she encouraged him, the faster he responded.. By the end of the year,
Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite
her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one
of her ‘teacher’s pets..’

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling
her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He
then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and
she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while
things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with
it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He
assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher
he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time
he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go
a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and
favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer….
The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter
that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be
married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago
and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding
in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of
course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the
one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was
wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their
last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs.
Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me.. Thank
you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could
make a difference.’

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.. She said,
‘Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I
could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.’

(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr at Iowa
Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Warm someone’s heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story
so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference
in someone’s life today? tomorrow? just ‘do it’.

Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!

‘Believe in Angels. Then return the favor.

Give me a sense of humor, Lord,

Give me the grace to see a joke,

To get some humor out of life,

And pass it on to other folk!

Have a great day

5 thoughts on “Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!

  1. This is said to be a fictional story written by Elizabeth Silance Ballard and published in Home Life magazine in 1976. It was not represented as being a true story but rather as a piece of fiction. It was later republished in the magazine in 1976 with the notation that it was one of the most requested stories in the magazine’s history.
    Still a great lesson and story.

  2. I thought it was published in 1974 (Snopes), but it’s still a neat story. We have a couple of real “Teddys” from our school. One is now an accountant, and the other isn’t out of school yet!

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