CHICAGO, IL — A Chicago school teacher’s heartfelt post about receiving cash from strangers on a plane has received thousands of likes and shares on Facebook and other platforms. After talking about what it’s like to work in a low-income school, she received more than $500 from strangers who overheard her story, she said in the post. The generous act happened on a Southwest Airlines flight, she said.
Kimberly Bermudez teaches first-grade students at Chicago’s Carlos Fuentes Elementary in the Avondale neighborhood. When a man sitting next to her on the plane asked her about her job, she told him she loved being a teacher, but that “working in a low-income school can be heartbreaking.” Many of the students who go to her school are from hard-working immigrant families who struggle to provide the basic necessities for their children.
“We talked about the world and how no child should ever do without. In 2018 kids should never be hungry or in need of anything,” she said in her post.
The man she was talking to asked for her work contact information, saying his company could make donations to her school.
“Then something amazing happened…” she said. “The man behind me tapped my shoulder. I turned around and he apologized for listening in to my conversation, and he handed me a wad of cash. He told me to ‘do something amazing’ and sat back down.”
Bermudez said she was “in complete awe” and started to cry, and thanked him. She told him she’d buy books for her students and give back to the community. She didn’t count the money immediately, but later found out he handed her $500.
“Then something even more amazing happened,” she said in her post. “The plane landed and the man on the aisle across from me told me that he listened as well. He said that he didn’t have much, but he gave me $20.”
Another man in front of her handed her $10, and said that’s all he had. Bermudez said the generosity brought tears to her eyes, and she thanked all four men.
“I was not telling my story to solicit money, and never intended to walk out of that flight with anything other than my carry on,” she wrote. “I do however hope that posting this continues the chain reaction of people helping those in need, and especially the children in need.”
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Top images: Photo 1 – of Kimberly Burmudez; Photos 2 & 3 of Kimberly and her students; courtesy of Acero Schools.