US & Canada

Teacher thanks the kindness of strangers

The money Kimber was given to help her students Image copyright Kimber Bermudez

A Chicago school-teacher has told the BBC that her "faith in humanity" has been restored after strangers on a plane gave her money to help her poor students.

Kimber Bermudez, 27, was on a flight to Florida to visit her parents last week.

In a widely shared Facebook post she explains how a conversation with the man sitting beside her about her challenging job prompted the generosity of three other passengers who had been listening in.

Kimber teaches at Carlos Fuentes Elementary in Chicago where many students come from low-income families. "Anyone who knows me knows that I am a talker," Kimber wrote.

"When he asked me the greatest challenge that I face I was honest with him. I told him that working at a low-income school can be heartbreaking."

"We have students who don't have a bed." Kimber told the BBC they provided free breakfast and free lunch to hungry students.

The passenger Kimber was speaking with took down her email address and told her his company donates to schools like hers.

But it was next that "something amazing happened". The passenger sitting directly behind Kimber tapped her on the shoulder, apologised for listening on her conversation and then promptly handed her a wad of cash.

"He told me to 'do something amazing' and sat back down... I thanked him and told him how I would buy my students books and give back to the community. I didn't count the money from that man, but I would later find out that he gave me $500 (£382)."

Image copyright Kimber Bermudez
Image caption Kimber Bermudez

But that was not the end of it. As the plane landed a man across the aisle admitted he had been ear-wigging too.

"He said that he didn't have much, but he gave me $20" Kimber recalls.

Finally the man sitting in front of Kimber turned round and handed her $10. " I started crying on the plane. I told all four men that I would do something amazing for the kids"

'I am still in shock'

The next day Kimber shared her experience in a Facebook post that has now been shared more than a thousand times.

She told the BBC she was overwhelmed by the positive reaction her story has had: "I am still in shock. So many people have been trying to speak with me about it."

The unsolicited donations from the other passengers have also given Kimber cause to reflect.

"I have never had something like this happen, I will never look at anyone in the same way again. I didn't know these people and yet they wanted to give towards a worthy cause. It has restored my faith in humanity" she says.

Kimber says she hasn't spent the money yet but plans to use it on school supplies or put it towards a playground.

She also added whilst the gifts were much appreciated there should be more funding for schools like hers. "I feel like funding is being spent where it shouldn't be and children should always be our main priority."

Kimber doesn't know the identity of the generous stranger who first tapped her on the shoulder.

"I want the man on the plane to know he has started the most amazing reaction, I wish I could and give him a hug. I'm forever thankful."

By UGC & Social News team

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