Chapter 18

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Ben found himself on a playground. Kids running in all directions. He turned around and recognized the school behind him. It was the elementary school he went to so many years ago. A little boy ran past him not even glancing at him and towards the double doors. It was him. But, as a child. Ben followed his younger self inside the school. Both Ben and his younger self stopped when he saw a teacher looking out the window crying. It was his second grade teacher, Mrs. Jones.

"Mrs. Jones?" said the younger Ben.

The teacher quickly wiped her tears. She looked down at him and asked, "Did you need something Ben?"

"Why are you crying?"

Mrs. Jones eyes teared up. She quickly sniffed and responded, "I'm okay Ben. Why are you not playing outside?"

"I need to go to the bathroom."

"Okay. Go to the bathroom and come right back out. We have about ten more minutes then we will be heading inside."

Ben walked up to Mrs. Jones and hugged her around her middle.

"Please don't be sad Mrs. Jones."

Mrs. Jones smiled and returned the hug.

"Love you, Mrs. Jones. You are the best teacher in the world."

At that, the younger Ben scampered towards the restrooms. Ben stood there by the teacher and watched her continue to smile to herself. He forgot all about her and that day. As she quietly wiped the rest of her tears and looked back out on the playground, Nelson walked up next to Ben.

"Do you remember this day?"

"I do now."

"Do you know why this is significant?"

Ben shook his head and responded, "It was a nice gesture. I don't know how it impacted her that much."

"What you don't know is that Mrs. Jones was debating on quitting."

Ben turned and looked at Nelson.

"Quit teaching?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"The principal had yelled at her just this morning about her lesson plan. He felt she wasn't following the lesson plan accordingly. This made her question her ability to teach. She's a timid person as you can tell. This and her mother being ill made her believe she needed to quit teaching."

"I don't see the point so far. She could have gotten another job somewhere else."

"Ten years later, she was still teaching at this school when she stopped a school shooting."

Ben's mouth dropped open.

"How? How did she do that? What happened?"

The younger Ben ran past them and back to the playground. Mrs. Jones watched him with a smile.

"A man walked in with a gun yelling for his ex wife. Mrs. Jones moved all her students towards the back of the classroom then came out of the room. She talked him down until the police came. If she wasn't here, many students and his ex wife would have been killed."

Ben looked back at Mrs. Jones. He couldn't fathom a timid person as her to do such a thing. But, he did remember she had a sweet calm voice that seemed to settle down anyone.

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