New Student Stays to Clean up Trash Alone on School Playground Every Day until Teacher Notices – Story of the Day
A teacher gets curious about a new boy who cleans the school playground every day after class and confronts him. The reason behind it brings her to tears, and she decides to do something about it.
Every day after their classes, the children at Tom's school rushed to the school playground to spend some time there before their parents picked them up. They'd be swinging and hopping around with their friends, playing four squares and other games, while Tom sat alone in one corner.
When their parents arrive, the children would leave the playground to go home, while those who stayed near the school walked home. Eventually, everyone would be gone, except Tom.
Every day, Tom waited until the playground was empty, after which he cleaned it by picking up trash and disposing of it in waste bins and sweeping the whole play area.
One day, Tom's science teacher, Mrs. Peterson, happened to notice him all alone in the playground after school. She saw him sitting alone on a bench while the kids were playing, and when the children left, he picked up a broom and began cleaning the place.
Mrs. Peterson was perplexed as to why Tom was doing that as the school already had a janitor who cleaned the premises in the evenings. She decided to approach him and find out what was going on.
"Hello, Tom," she greeted him with a big smile on her face. "What are you doing here on your own at this hour? Shouldn't you be home?"
Sometimes young minds end up teaching valuable lessons to the older lot.
"Hello, Mrs. Peterson," Tom replied. "I'm cleaning the playground because it's dirty. The other kids litter the whole place, but they never clean it."
"Oh, how awful of them!" Mrs. Peterson exclaimed. "I'll make sure they don't do that again, Tom," she added gently. "You are not supposed to clean up after them. We have someone on staff to handle that task. It's late, so you should go home."
"I can't go home until I finish cleaning, Mrs. Peterson," Tom said slowly, his head bowed and his gaze fixed on the ground. "I want to help the cleaner because I feel bad for him..."
Mrs. Peterson smiled. "Well, Tom, it's nice to help others, but this is a lot of effort for a young man like you. Besides, your parents might be worried by now."
Tom shook his head. "My dad's dead. Now it's just my mom at home. She works as a janitor at a shopping mall and comes back late from work. Mrs. Green, our next-door neighbor, looks after me till Mom gets home...and..."
"And?" Mrs. Peterson's smile faded as she realized where Tom was heading and why he wanted to help the janitor.
"I want to spend time with my mom, but she says she has to work more hours to provide for us," Peter continued. "That's why I feel sorry for the cleaner who cleans our playground...His children must be waiting for him just like I wait for my mom...He has to work long hours because the kids dirty this place."
Tom's words left Mrs. Peterson teary-eyed. Tom's mom was a janitor too, which is why he felt so bad for the school cleaner. She somehow masked her tears in front of him, but deep down, the little boy's act had moved her.
"Do you realize how special and amazing you are, Tom? Your mother raised you very well," she said, complimenting him. "But you know what," she added. "I have a better idea of how we can help the cleaner!"
"Really?" Tom's face brightened up, and his lips curved into a smile. "How can we do that?"
Mrs. Peterson gave him a nod. "Don't you think if the kids disposed of their own waste, the cleaner wouldn't have to work such long hours? Then he'll be able to finish his work on time and spend time with his family! And the kids should understand that littering is a bad thing!
"So, Tom," she continued, "I was thinking, maybe I can speak with the principal tomorrow, and we can organize a clean-up drive where we teach students the value of hygiene and keeping their surroundings clean? That way, we'd be doing our part while indirectly helping the cleaner."
"Wow! That's a wonderful idea, Mrs. Peterson!" Tom said happily. "Thank you!"
Mrs. Peterson shook her head. "Thank YOU, Tom! You're incredible..."
That day, Mrs. Peterson dropped Tom off at his house. The next day, she discussed the clean-up campaign with the principal, who gave it a green light, praising the idea.
A week later, the drive was organized, where students were taught not to litter in public places, and teachers were urged to keep an eye on the kids so they didn't litter around the school. The school administration also thanked Tom and his mother, who was present, for inspiring the activity.
What can we learn from this story?
- It's everyone's responsibility to keep our surroundings clean. After hearing Tom's story, Mrs. Peterson had a brilliant idea to educate the students about environmental cleanliness. Thanks to Tom for drawing attention to the issue, students became more involved in helping the school cleaner keep their surroundings clean.
- Sometimes young minds end up teaching valuable lessons to the older lot. Nobody considered the littering problem at school until Tom mentioned it. He taught his teacher a lesson about keeping their surroundings clean and helping others by doing their bit.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about an airport janitor who was fired from her job because her son helped her. Later, she got help from an unexpected place.
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