A Chicago first-grade teacher was flying to Florida to visit her parents last week when she and her seatmate struck up a conversation about her job. Kimberly Bermudez told the man all about how much she loves her job and how heartbreaking it can be to see students at the low-income school going hungry. He got her information, telling her his company donates to schools like hers—and then a few more "amazing" things happened, as Bermudez recounted in a viral Facebook post that has been shared nearly a thousand times. First a man sitting behind her handed her a stack of bills, saying he couldn't help but overhear the conversation and he wanted her to "do something amazing" with the money. Then two other men, one sitting in front of her and one across the aisle, said they didn't have much cash on them—but they gave her what they could.
In all, she was handed $530 to help her students. "I said, ‘You have no idea how much this means. Whether it’s books or backpacks, I’ll make sure I give something to the children,'" Bermudez, 27, tells the Washington Post. She notes that teachers at her school often use their own money to buy things their students need, from school supplies to underwear. On Tuesday, she posted again on Facebook, this time to let people interested in the story know how to donate money or materials to the school where she works, Fuentes Elementary, or the charter school network it's a part of. She says she hopes the kind strangers from her Southwest flight see the post and realize what an impact they made, she tells USA Today. "I just want to give them a big hug."