Mrs. Shelby stopped trudging as the pedestrian traffic light turned red. She watched the cars drive past her and began to ponder about retirement. Her passion for teaching had dried up. Her savings from enduring entitled middle schoolers for decades were enough to live her golden years peacefully. She pulled out her smartphone, about to notify the school principal, when an SUV pulled up next to her and honked.
“Hey! ” he yelled from the driver’s seat. “Are you Mrs. Shelby?”
“I am Mrs. Shelby.”
The man beamed.
“It’s me. Silly Steve!”
The man hopped out of his SUV. He might be called Silly Steve but there was nothing silly about him. His suit and tie and his demeanor screamed prosperity and generosity.
“Steve Baumbach?” she asked.
The man hugged her.
“You remember me,” he said.
How could she forget one of the most antagonizing students she ever had? Steve was always daydreaming in her class. He didn’t do any homework. He barely passed the tests. The only thing he was great at was giving his classmates and his teachers an unpleasant time. He wasn’t dubbed Silly Steve for anything. He clearly earned it.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
Steve told her the good news – his wife was pregnant. They decided that it would be practical to raise their child in the city because their parents were just a five-minute drive away. Mrs. Shelby was delighted to learn the news. She provided some parenting tips and to her surprise, Silly Steve took notes. Steve offered her a ride home but she politely declined because she needed the fifteen-minute walk for her aging knees. Steve then replied with an apology, confusing her.
“Why are you apologizing?”
Steve told her that he was apologizing for not paying her the respect and admiration she deserved when he was a teenager. He promised her that he will make sure that his child will pay all of his debt when she finally meets him in her classroom.
And that was all it took to change her mind.