Thanks go out to Roberta Hyde for sending me another good news story! This one appeared in TBO.com Tampa Tribune
BRANDON – On Aug. 4, in the middle of Staples at Regency Square, Rodney Burton heard God speak to him. “He said, ‘There’s someone here you need to do something for,’” said Burton. “I felt like He was talking about a teacher.” Burton lives in Valrico and attends The Crossing Church. “It’s a respect thing. They give so much, every day,” he said. “They should be the highest-paid people out there. They inspire kids, transform parents and change lives for good, never knowing the impact one conversation might have. Why not give back to the people who give so much?” He looked around and thought, there’s got to be a teacher in here, but how do I find one? When Burton and his wife, Audra, got in line at the register, “this lady in front of me had so much stuff in her basket; I thought she’s got to be a teacher.” The woman was Brandon-resident Sharon Leto, a science teacher for Hillsborough High School’s International Baccalaureate program. “The most wonderful thing happened,” she said. “While I waited in line, the man behind me asked if I was a school teacher. When I said yes, he said, ‘Today is your lucky day! I’m going to pay for everything in your cart.’ “My cart was full, but he didn’t seem to care,” said Leto. “He said, ‘We don’t do enough for our teachers,’ and he just wanted to pay it forward. …I was speechless and moved to tears, right there in the checkout line.” Burton, a personal trainer and award-winning bodybuilder, said it seemed like the right thing to do. He owns Results Health and Nutrition, 626 Oakfield Drive, where he tries to give hope to people who’ve lost hope “and transform people who never feel like they’re good enough,” he said. “Life gets easier and a whole lot simpler when you feel good about yourself.” Burton’s action amazed Leto, who has taught 26 years in Hillsborough County. She admitted she grumbles from time to time about funding cuts and morale-busting mandates.
Having been a teacher for years and working in the field of education after leaving the classroom, I feel a huge sense of gratitude to Rodney Burton. His respect for all that teachers do and his desire to show that respect by paying for the cart load of supplies warms my heart. Maybe because of this act of kindness more people will come to realize how much of their own money teachers put into supplies for their classroom and for their students.
Kudos to Sharon Leto for filling up the cart in the first place. She had no way of knowing that someone else would pay for it. She was probably just doing what she always does -thinking about what her students will need to learn and succeed.
Click on the link below to see a picture of Leto and Burton.