Student Is Unable to Walk at Graduation, so Teacher Gives Shoes off His Own Feet – But He Asks for a Favor in Return
“You should always be willing to give and always willing to be a blessing to someone else.”
Graduation should be an exciting time in a student’s career where they can celebrate their achievements with their family, teachers, and peers. You did all the hard work already, now it’s time to celebrate your achievements.
You’d think walking across the stage to get your diploma would be no big deal right? But for the people who struggle with stage fright? The hard work feels far from over.
It’s true when they say “our body keeps the score.” Some of us can still remember that presentation we had to give in front of our whole class, where we choked. Now every time our boss calls on us at work? We may not know it, but that same fear comes up.
We dread getting up in front of our co-workers and fumbling our words. We could be an expert rocket scientist, whose cutting edge research is changing the face of modern tech…and still our stomach is in knots at the thought of public speaking!
Thankfully, one teacher at George Mason Elementary in Richmond, Virginia understood how big of an impact these seemingly small moments — like walking across an award stage without tripping — can make in our lives.
When one of his students nearly missed out on his graduation, this selfless teacher came to the rescue with an act of kindness.
How One Teacher Was at the Right Place at the Right Time
Vohn Lewis, a substitute teacher known as ‘Mr. Lewis’ at George Mason Elementary, noticed an embarrassed fifth grader’s frustration, when his broken shoe threatened his ability to cross the stage at graduation. The good news was, Mr. Lewis had a solution and he didn’t hesitate to act.
The student’s parents and his guidance counsellor were at a crossroads after several failed arts and craft attempts at fixing the broken shoe. The sticky situation could have gotten a lot more desperate if Mr. Lewis hadn’t walked in when he did.
“I wasn’t thinking. I just moved with my heart,” he said.
In no time at all, Mr. Lewis was standing in his socks in the school hallway, swapping shoes with his student.
Leading by Example Is the Best Teacher
In a now-private Facebook post, Lewis’ act of kindness went viral. The school took notice of his act of kindness, saying Lewis is often observed encouraging students from all grade levels and walks of life.
“He demonstrates my mantra ‘Children First!’” George Mason Elementary Principal, Rose Ferguson said, “He serves with a true heart of passion! We’re not surprised at his actions on yesterday and we’re proud to have him as part of the Mason Family!!”
With his quick thinking, Mr. Lewis gave us all a lesson in leading with love, but the school wasn’t out just yet! After Mr. Lewis handed over his shoes, he asked the young boy for a simple favor in return.
“I told him that he had to make a promise to me because it was nothing for me to do something like that for him,” Lewis told the station. “But he has to keep in mind that one day he’s going to be in the position of Mr. Lewis and he has to do the same thing.”
Kindness Is a Muscle, Exercise It!
At the end of the day, change starts with us. It really is true when Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Even though it’s easy to tell ourselves we don’t have the power to make an impact or we’re not in the position to enact change, be careful to not let the feeling of powerlessness be an excuse for inaction.
You don’t have to be a teacher to set a good example for those around you. You don’t need to be Nelson Mandela to change the world. Honestly, you don’t even need to change the world. But smiling at your 17-year-old Starbucks barista when they mess up your coffee order, is better than nothing!
We don’t have control over where life takes us. So many of life’s curveballs (big or small) are out of our hands. Most of the time, we aren’t in control of how people or life itself act towards us — but the way we react to situations is something we are in charge of.
We may not always get it perfect, but the more we practice, the better chance we have at getting it right.
If we start looking at “kindness” as a muscle we exercise, instead of a personality trait we (do or don’t) have, then we’d all be standing the school hallway with our socks off…and that’s a vision worth aspiring to.
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