The Perfume . . .

The Perfume . . .

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of the
school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers she looked at
her students and said she loved them all the same. However that was
impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in the seat was a
little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not
play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy, and that he
constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in
marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a
big “F” at the top of his papers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught,
she was required to review each student past records and she put Teddy’s
off until the last. However when she reviewed his file, she was in for a

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready
laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners. He is a joy to be

His second grade teacher wrote Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by
his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal
illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third grade teacher wrote, “Teddy’s mother’s death has been hard on
him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and
his home life will soon affect him if some steps are not taken.”

His fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much
interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in

By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.
She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents,
wrapped beautifully in bright ribbons and paper, except for Teddy’s, whose
present was clumsy and wrapped in heavy brown paper, the he would have got
from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of
the other presents.

Some of the children started to laugh when she found the rhinestone
bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle of perfume that was
only one quarter full. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she
exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of
the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed on after school that day
just long to say, ” Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used
to.” After the children left, she cried for at long time

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Instead she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention
to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more
she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy
had become one of the smartest children in class. And, despite her lie that
she loved all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “pets”.

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that
she was still the best teacher he had ever had in his life.

Six years went by before she got another letter from Teddy. He then wrote
that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the
best teacher he ever had in is whole life.

Four years after that she received another note saying that while things
had been tough at times, he still stayed in school, had stuck with it, and
would soon graduate with the highest honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that
she was still the best and most favorite teacher he ever had in his whole

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he
explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little
further. The letter explained that she was still the best and most
favourite teacher he ever had in his whole life. But now the name was
little longer … the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end here. There was yet another letter that spring.
Teddy said the he met this girl who was going to marry.

He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was
wondering if Mrs. Thompson would agree to sit at the wedding in the place
that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what, she wore that bracelet
– the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she also remembered
to wear the perfume that Teddy’s mother wore on the last Christmas they
spent together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear,
“Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making
me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back, “Teddy, you have it
all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I
didn’t know how to teach till I met you.”

You could have a Teddy standing in front of you and yet not realizing it . . .


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