At that point Jean know why the boy was so sad and lonely when she first saw him, but she had no idea what she could do about it.
Christmas was right around the corner and Jean received beautifully wrapped presents from all of her students, except one. One of the presents was wrapped in a brown paperback. Like she did every year she opened the presents in front of the class. When she opened the present wrapped in the brown plastic bag she pulled out a half-empty perfume bottle and a plastic bracelet. The classroom erupted in laughter, and Jean had to call the students to order. She asked them to stop laughing and proclaimed that she really liked the bracelet and the perfume. To make a point she sprayed some of the perfume on her wrists.
Suddenly she realized that Teddy had come up to her and when he looked at her he said with a broken voice: “You smell just like my mother today, thank you”
When everybody left her classroom she couldn’t help it but she started crying and things were never the same. Shae started paying closer attention to Teddy and to encourage him every day a little – and that’s when she noticed that the loneliness and sadness that he seemed to carry with him started to disappear bit by bit. She kept encouraging him and he turned out be one of her top students by the end of the year. But the story doesn’t end here.
A year later Teddy slipped a note under her door and the note said that she was his favorite teacher in grade school. When Teddy graduated from high school six years later he again sent a letter to Jean, letting her know that he finished third in his year. And again he told her that she was his favorite teacher ever.
Another four years passed and Jean received another letter. Teddy explained that it hadn’t been easy, but his memory of her encouragement kept him going and he finished college as a valedictorian. Again he told her that she remained his favorite teacher…