Dear Rodrigo

education, photography

Dear Rodrigo,

I have to admit, you were driving me crazy in class today.

Clink, clink, clink.

At first, I couldn’t figure out where the noise was coming from.

Clink, clink.

A glimmer of light reflected off something grasped tightly in your hands. Frustrated, I walked over to see that you were playing with a stack of nickels, dimes and quarters.

“Rodrigo, put the money away, or it’s going to be mine.”

“Eleven dollars, Miss!” You whispered excitedly as the coins clinked and clanked into a plastic bag. “How much longer until the book fair?”

Thirty-three minutes later, I watched as you and your classmates scoured the shelves of shiny books, dug through the junky pencils and erasers that look like iPhones, and plowed through piles of pens that light up and make noise.

“15 minutes left” I announced to the class.

You pulled a book off the shelf and leafed through it gingerly. Checking the price, I noticed you shake your head and put it back. You did this three more times before spotting the discount table. Snatching a book, you eyed it eagerly, and with five minutes left at the fair, marched proudly to the check out.

Clink, clink, clink. You counted out each nickel, quarter and dime with care and pride, beaming when you heard the total price.

“I still have six dollars and forty-one cents!” You cried and raced back to the poster section of the store.

You were the last student at the fair.

 “Rodrigo, we really need to go,” I stressed.

“Aha!” you exclaimed, pulling a burnt-orange University of Texas poster from the pile. “Ms. Jackson, LOOK! Don’t you love it?”

 I smiled, “Yes! It’s awesome. Now let’s hurry! We gotta get you back to class.”

“Wow, Miss, I even have 27 cents left over!” Without hesitation, you plunked the change in the donation box, becoming the only student in the entire school to donate so far.

We walked into the hallway.

“Here you go!” Beaming, you handed me the poster.

“Do you want me to hold this until we get back to class?” I asked, confused.

“No, Miss, I bought it for you!” You almost skipped with excitement.

“Oh, Rodrigo, that is so thoughtful, but you should really keep it! Your parents will probably wonder what you bought today. Didn’t they give you the money to spend at the book fair?”

“No, Miss, I earned it.”

“What do you mean? Is this your allowance?”

“Not my allowance. I help my uncle with his roofing business. He usually doesn’t have any cash, so he pays me in coins.”

This gift is so meaningful to me. Thank you for spending your hard-earned money on a poster for my classroom. I admire your generosity and am honored to be the teacher of such a hard working and considerate young man.

All my love (and Hook ’em, Horns!),

-Ms. Jackson

5 thoughts on “Dear Rodrigo

  1. This experience was certainly one where the teacher became the student. Rodrigo has a lot to teach me about generosity of spirit! Reminds me of this beautiful quote: “That’s what I consider true generosity. You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it cost you nothing.” – Simone de Beauvoir. Rodrigo for President, anyone? 2036?


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