When Sarah lost her husband, she had to work to support her five children and ailing mother-in-law, and she was struggling. One day, she met her high school teacher, Mrs. Dalton, who couldn’t believe how she looked, mainly because of Sarah’s past, and she decided to do something.
“Mrs. Dalton! Oh my god! It’s so nice to see you,” a frail and tired Sarah Palmer greeted her teacher, Annie Dalton, who taught biology and physical education at the local high school in her town in Dallas, Texas.
It had been over 20 years since Sarah last saw Mrs. Dalton but she was fit and looked great. However, Sarah could see the look Mrs. Dalton gave her.
Sarah had changed a lot and looked completely different from the Sarah Mrs. Dalton knew from her school days. She used to be an excellent sports player and could’ve gotten a scholarship for basketball to college. Sadly, her parents died, and she gave up her dreams for something more realistic.
“Sarah, darling. What are you doing here? I heard you got married years ago,” the teacher said awkwardly, unable to conceal the worry from her face.
“Mom, something came in the mail,” her eldest daughter, Mara, said and gave her an envelope with no information on the outside.
“Well, my husband died recently, and I’m supporting five children and my sick mother-in-law working as a sort of busboy-dishwasher combo at this restaurant,” Sarah explained, wiping her forehead and nodding at her teacher.
“Oh my. I’m so sorry for your loss. But darling, you should’ve called me. Maybe I could help in some way,” Mrs. Dalton stated, her kind eyes turning sad for her. Sarah didn’t want her pity. She had no time for that. She needed to work and get food.
“Thank you, Mrs. Dalton. But don’t worry. We just have to get used to this new routine, and I hope to find a better job soon. I haven’t worked in years because of raising the children and caring for my mother-in-law, but I’ll be fine soon,” she continued, making excuses. “Well, I have to get back to work. Enjoy your meal.”
Sarah walked away with a fake smile, hoping Mrs. Dalton would believe it. But she knew that the older woman saw right through her and was concerned.
In truth, she needed help. She had no idea how she would afford rent on the old trailer they had to move to and feeding her family was getting hard. Luckily, the restaurant often offered her leftovers, which was pretty kind. Still, Sarah had become skinnier than usual due to the stress and not having enough. She gave everything to her children and didn’t know how long she could keep up this pace.
But she was going to get them through this, Sarah resolved. Her children would be safe, and hopefully, her mother-in-law, Mrs. Palmer, would get better soon. Things had to get better soon, right?
Unfortunately, things started getting harder for Sarah. She was fainting at work due to hunger, and although she had sent resumes all over the area, no one was hiring her.
Two weeks after seeing Mrs. Dalton, she came home from work with grocery bags full of cheap stuff, including ramen. At least her kids loved it, but she hated that she couldn’t give them something better. Mrs. Palmer needed something more nutritious to get better too.
Moreover, the issue of the upcoming rent was looming on her like a dark cloud about to burst with a storm, but there was nothing she could do now.
She parked her cheap car next to the trailer, took a deep breath, and went inside. At the very least, her kids were glad to see her, and she was happy to hear all about their day. This is why I have to keep going, keep fighting, she thought, as the children helped her with the groceries and got dinner started in the kitchen.
“Mom, something came in the mail,” her eldest daughter, Mara, said and gave her an envelope with no information on the outside. Sarah frowned and stopped stirring the ramen she was cooking in a boiling pot.
“OH MY GOD!” she yelled upon opening the envelope. All the kids turned to her, wanting to know what was happening, but their mother didn’t have the words to explain it. It was a check for $5,300, and as she read through it, Sarah discovered that Mrs. Dalton had sent it.
She told her daughters to serve dinner and grabbed her phone to call Mrs. Dalton, who explained everything. After their meeting, she called other teachers, who all loved Sarah back in the day, and even some parents. They all raised that money to help her out. Mrs. Dalton found her trailer address and left the envelope near the rest of the mail. Tears were streaming down Sarah’s face by then, but Mrs. Dalton was not done.
“That’s not all, darling. I talked to the school, and they have an opening. You can be the new assistant coach with the women’s basketball team. It comes with better benefits, including free lunches for your kids,” Mrs. Dalton revealed in her sweet voice.
Sarah closed her eyes, holding the phone to her ear. “Mrs. Dalton, how can I ever repay you?”
“I always regretted not pushing you to keep going on the basketball team when your parents died. This is how I’m making that up! You’re part of the faculty now! The principal wants to meet you tomorrow. Come with your best attitude!” her old teacher chirped, and a few minutes later, they hung up.
Sarah knew right then and there that everything would turn around for the better for her family. Not just because that check would pay for their rent and food until her new paycheck came, but also because she would be closer to her children as part of the school faculty. It was the perfect job for her.
Soon enough, Mrs. Palmer also got better and got a part-time job herself to help Sarah out. The rest of the time, she looked after the younger kids. Although they all missed Sarah’s late husband, who was a wonderful father, husband, and son, the family was finally able to move on and find happiness in other ways.
What can we learn from this story?
You have to keep going even when things are hard. Sarah was going through a tough time, but she kept going and working for her family’s sake.
You can always help someone in need. Even though Sarah told her teacher not to worry, Mrs. Dalton took it upon herself to help. She raised money and found her old student a better job.