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
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withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school.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
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”