He wasn’t a bad kid. He just acted out in class. His teacher knew something was wrong at home, but she didn’t know what to do. So she went easy on him.
“Nicer I was,” she said. “The more he acted out. He wanted attention.”
So she gave him the positive kind. She moved his desk, praised him for hard work. She even gave him rides home.
When she dropped him off, she noticed his mother wasn’t around.
“Where’s you’re mother?” she once asked.
“She’s getting clean-o-therapy,” he said. “It makes her cancer better.”
That’s when her heart broke. She did what any God-fearing woman would. She rushed home and cooked up a whirlwind. Cookies, cakes, cornbread, and casseroles.
She stopped by the following day. His mother was napping. So, she snooped around his house. The place was a hog pen. No toilet paper, no snacks, and the refrigerator was a wasteland.
“When I met his mother,” she went on. “She was in a bad way. Her hair was gone. No wonder she didn’t have food, she could hardly talk.”
The teacher asked her Bible study group for help. They raised money, bought groceries. A handful of ladies cooked suppers. Some donated money.
His mother died suddenly.
The family couldn’t afford a funeral. His grades dropped. His uncle moved in. He started skipping school.
“I had to do something,” she said. “Or else I knew he’d be another statistic.”
She began spending time with him. She carried him to waterparks, movies, malls, church parties, you name it. She celebrated his birthdays, Thanksgivings, Christmases, and all other occasions. He even lived with her for six weeks when his uncle was out of town.
She wedged herself into the kid’s life and didn’t let go.
Then he moved away. They lost touch.
A few dozen years have passed by. She doesn’t look like the young photograph she showed me. Her hair is grayer. She’s raised two college-age girls, married twice.
She still teaches.
A few months ago, a visitor stopped by her classroom unannounced. A six-foot-eight giant who’d just gotten out of the Army.
She knew that face.
He hugged her neck and said, “I just wanna thank you, Mrs. Audrey. You’re the reason for everything good in my world.”
“You know,” she said. “Maybe I’ve only touched one life, but as a teacher, one’s enough.”
Maybe so. But you ought to know something: you’ve touched more than one.
You’ve certainly touched me.
And today, I have a feeling you’re going to touch a few more.