A little boy hides money in his school locker, but no one knows about it until his teacher sees him open it by accident and sees a few bills fall out.
Ms. Freebody’s life and work were all affected by literature, including works by Shakespeare, Dante, and almost everyone else. She taught her students to do that, and she loved it.
Ms. Freebody was a teacher, and she loved it. She paid attention to all of her students, but she paid extra attention to kids like Tammy Harper who needed more help.
Tammy’s family was poor, and he didn’t have many friends. Even though the boy worked hard, he failed all of his classes except for English, and Ms. Freebody felt terrible for him. She tried to get the other teachers to pay more attention to him by talking to them. However, not everyone was like her.
Ms. Freebody was shocked and surprised when she saw Tammy doing something strange one day. He was putting a bunch of dollar bills that had fallen on the floor back into his locker. The teacher felt terrible. The first thing that went through her worried mind was, “Where did he get all that money?”
The day at school had been long. Ms. Freebody stayed behind to prepare the exam papers, and when she left her room, she was surprised to see Tammy by his locker.
She sighed as she looked at him and said, “Poor kid.” “I don’t know what he’s been doing here up to this point.”
When Ms. Freebody saw that Tammy was having trouble getting his locker open, she decided to talk to him. She thought it was stuck, so she went over to help. The boy then pulled it open with all his strength, and Ms. Freebody stopped in her tracks when she saw what fell out.
When you hurt a child, you can never take it back.
Dozens of dollar bills were just lying on the floor. Tammy’s eyes were full of fear as he put everything back in his locker, and Ms. Freebody noticed it. In shock, she put her hand to her mouth.
What’s this kid doing? Where did he get all of that money? Is this why he can’t pay attention in class?
Everyone in school knew Tammy came from a poor family, so he couldn’t have gotten the money from home. Also, the boy was so poor that he couldn’t even buy new clothes and shoes. Tammy switched between two sets of clothes, which sometimes smelled because he didn’t wash them.
“Oh no, this kid…” When Ms. Freebody thought about where Tammy could have gotten all that money, it made her heart flutter. Since she cared about him, she couldn’t just ignore it. He was, after all, just a little boy.
She put on a fake smile and decided to go up to him. He was busy paying his bills, so she gave him a hand, and he looked scared. “Miss Freebody… He said, “You… This is my money!” and Ms. Freebody didn’t say anything. She picked up the last bill that had fallen, crossed her arms over her chest, and then spoke.
“Could you tell me, child, where you got them? Look, Tammy, I’m not your parent, and I know it’s wrong to pry into other people’s lives, but I think this needs to be explained.”
Tammy’s eyes were getting teary, and Ms. Freebody saw this. “Can… Ms. Freebody, could you please give me that money back? I… I want it. Please?”
She gave him the bills and said, “Here you go.” He quickly put them in his locker. Then he said “thank you” in a small voice.
But Ms. Freebody wanted to find out what was going on. “Tammy, where did you get all that money? Do you have any problems? Did someone force you to do things you shouldn’t have, like stealing?
Tammy gave a nod.
“Then what is it, child? Look, there’s nothing to worry about. I’ll help you, OK? Tammy, you’re a good kid. I know. ”
After being quiet for a while, Tammy said, “My Dad…”
“Your dad? He gave you all that money, right?” Ms. Freebody was asked.
Tammy again shook his head. “He’s not a good person, Ms. He doesn’t love me or my sister…”
As Tammy continued to tell his story, Ms. Freebody tried hard not to cry. Tammy’s mother had died a long time ago, and his dad didn’t care about him or his sister. Tammy couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t drunk, and he drank all of his money away.
Miley was Tammy’s younger sister, and she was a very smart child. Even though she loved to learn, her father didn’t send her to school. So, Tammy saved all the money his bedridden grandmother gave him as pocket money for his sister’s college tuition.
“If I save money, Ms. Freebody, she can get into a school next year…” Tammy cried as she told. “I’m an older brother, and I’d like to take care of her. I’ll tell Dad I… So Miley can go to school, I don’t want to go to school. She’s my younger sister… And if I put the money somewhere at home, Dad will take it!”
“NO, TAMMY!” Ms. Freebody said. “Both you and your sister deserve to go to school! Your father has no right to stop you from going forward. I know you’re a big brother, but honey, you’re not big enough to handle that. Bring me back to your house, and I’ll talk to your dad. Don’t worry, all right?”
Tammy did what Ms. Freebody told him to do, and she was surprised by the way he and his sister were living. Their house looked like it hadn’t been swept in a long time and smelled like things that shouldn’t be in a home with kids.
Ms. Freebody told Tammy and Miley to go to their rooms. Then she talked to their father, Derek, and told him how careless he was as a parent. This made Derek angry.
“Who do you think you are to get involved in our lives? They are my kids, and I’ll raise them the way I think is best!”
“Well,” said Ms. Freebody calmly. “You might not have to answer to me, Mr. Harper, but you would have to answer to Child Services. You’d better get your act together, or I’ll have to get them involved.”
Mr. Harper snarled, “You have no right to come into my house and mess with my business.” “You must be a brave woman, but your threats won’t work here. How about you just leave?”
“Sir!” Ms. Freebody said firmly. “That’s fine if you think it’s a threat. But I think it shows that the teacher cares about her students. Do you know what your son has to deal with at school?”
“I suppose not. He doesn’t have any friends and isn’t doing well in school. Why? Because he worries more about his sister than he does about himself.
“You failed him as a father. But I can’t fail him as his teacher!”
Ms. Freebody’s childhood was terrible. She lost her mother to drug abuse when she was young, so she had to grow up in a foster care system, which she hated. So she didn’t want that kind of future for Tammy and Miley.
She did everything she could to get Mr. Harper to change his ways and take care of his kids, which he did in the end. She offered to pay for his therapy and counseling and told him to join groups where people like him go to get better.
Because of what she did, Mr. Harper didn’t look like him after a year. He was thankful to Ms. Freebody for helping him, but soon that gratitude turned into something deeper and more meaningful. Ms. Freebody became Mrs. Harper very quickly after becoming Tammy and Miley’s mother.