One of the best stories I've ever heard!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


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

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

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Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is withdrawn and do
esn'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
honours. 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

(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

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