Monday, January 27, 2014

"You've got to go out on a limb, sometimes, because that's where the fruit is."  ~ Will Rogers

The lunch bell rang and I excused the class on the dot! I would always leave for a fast-food lunch during my 30-minute lunch break. That quiet time was always essential to me so I could refuel for my afternoon classes. But this day one of my senior girls came running back into the room before I could leave.

"Mrs. Waldron!  Mrs. Waldron! I gotta talk to you!" she quietly yelled. "Can I tell you something... and you won't tell anyone?"

"That depends on what you want to tell me..." I told her. "If it's illegal or something, I have to tell..."

"I found a sack filled with money! It was under the bushes right next to the door... C'mon... I'll show you where it was." So we ran out and I looked at a seculded empty space under the sickly bush right next to the back door of the building.

Back in my classroom, she told me that she had counted the money, and there was $600 in that wadded-up paper bag! 

"What should I do, Mrs. Waldron?  With that money I finally have enough to buy a used car! What should I do? There was nothing else in that bag... no name, no nothing... just that money!  No one saw me pick it up, either."

In my mind there were two choices. It's funny, but I didn't debate what I should say... there were only two choices, and I still believe that!

"I think it's probably drug money," I told her. "You found the money, and you can keep it, and no one will ever know. I won't tell anyone because it's your choice, not mine. OR, you can take it to the police department and turn it in. There's a slim possiblity that it might belong to someone... maybe some old lady carries her money that way... I don't know."

"Well, what will happen if I take it to the police?"

"The police will probably keep it for a set time and, if no one claims it, I think it's yours.  I THINK!   I don't know, though."

Well, she left, and I sat back down at my desk for the 15 minutes I had left of my food-free lunch break, wondering what she was going to do.

She came in the next day before school and told me that she had walked to the police station and given them the money after they thoroughly questioned her. They told her that she had to wait 3 months before she could claim it. I was soooo darn proud of that senior girl, because in my eyes she'd become a woman right then!

It was a loooong 3 months, though, with her visiting the police department once or twice every single week to see if someone had claimed it. I think that the worst day for her, though, was the day before the money could legally be hers. The day d r a g g e d for her, and, funnily enough, for me, too. She asked me to wait after school until she came back to see me, so I sat there, nervously grading essays, waiting for her...

Suddenly, there she was, walking into my classroom.  She announced, "It's mine now! The police guy said so! Mrs. Waldron, I'm going to go with my Dad tomorrow and get me that used car!"

And she did... and I'm still soooo proud of that young lady... Makes teaching into much more than the government folks and the newspapers will ever understand. We'd been reading an amazing book in class when she found that money-bag, all about making choices... doing the right thing, or doing the easy thing. We both learned that life is not a multiple-choice test. It's each of us being the authors of our own life-long, essay...

No comments:

Post a Comment