Friday, October 28, 2011

Elementary School Hero

   Today I am a hero to one young man at the elementary school I've been working at this week. I've got to say it feels pretty good too. Here's the story:
   Wednesday afternoon was just like every other day. I showed up at the school near the end of the day when all the kids were about to leave, checked in at the office, and went about my normal routine of setting up my ladder and my paints. Most of the time I pretty much ignore the kids as I go about my job and they generally ignore me, though there are a lot of curious little ones that will stop to ask me what I'm doing.
   "I'm painting these pipes."
   "Because they're all rusty and ugly, so I'm going to make them look nice."
   Anyone with kids knows that this kind of conversation can go back and forth like that for a long time, but it doesn't bother me. I was just as curious when I was that age.
   Anyway, back to my story. So Wednesday afternoon I was up on my ladder painting away and I couldn't help but notice that there was one little boy who was very upset about something. It turns out he had lost his treasured Vancouver Canucks jersey and he was heart broken. It was an authentic, kid-sized NHL jersey too, not one of the cheap ones. The poor kid looked high and low for that jersey and was convinced someone had stolen it. I felt so bad for him.
   The next day as I was setting up again I saw that the kid still looked pretty upset over losing his jersey, but there was nothing anyone could do about it. It hadn't turned up in the lost and found box so it seemed as though it was gone forever. But it wasn't.
   Later that evening, long after everyone had gone home and it was only myself and the janitor in the building, I started painting above the stage in the gym. As I was working I had to move the heavy red curtain and lo and behold I spotted a little bit of blue and green poking out from under it. Sure enough, I lifted the curtain and there was this little Canucks jersey. I'm not surprised the kid didn't see it because when the curtain was pulled open the jersey must have gotten caught underneath it, dragged to the far right hand side of the stage, and pushed into the corner.
   So I took off my gloves to avoid getting paint on the jersey, gave it a good shake to get the dust off it, and promptly took it to the office. I didn't want to just leave it in the lost and found box where anyone could just take it. I then wrote a little note on a scrap of paper explaining the story with the jersey and to make sure that it was returned to its rightful owner.
   Just to make sure this story has a happy ending I called the school this morning. Sure enough, the jersey I found did belong to that kid and, according to the secretary, he was "thrilled to get it back." I wish I could have seen the look on the kid's face. It's too bad I'm not going to return to that school tonight as I have a job to do elsewhere, but it still feels good to know I've made that kid's day. I'm like a hero to him now, apparently.
   Sometimes something so small can make a big difference to a kid. Hopefully he's learned to pay a little more attention to his belongings.
   That's my story, dear friends. I hope it made you smile.

The Wandering Oak

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