The Perfume

      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


       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       withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school.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


       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


       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 still 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 his whole 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


       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.”

       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 favour”


2 thoughts on “The Perfume


    Posted by JENNIFER PAKEERA | May 31, 2011, 17:53


  1. Pingback: Caring and Sharing | Hillary Sargeant Fanga - May 31, 2011

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