A third-grader in Florida is going viral after his amazing act of kindness left his teacher — and parents — completely stunned.
Parker Williams, a 9-year-old from Tampa, Fla., made the secret gesture after receiving $15 for his birthday. Instead of keeping the money for himself, he decided to give it to his teacher, Mrs. Chambers.
The 9-year-old stapled his $15 to a letter, writing a message for Chambers about why he wanted her to have the cash.
The message read, “Dear Mrs. Chambers, I don’t think that teachers get paid enough for what they do so will you accept this gift?”
Chambers, however, said she could not accept the gesture. Despite being touched by the gift, she returned the money to Parker along with her own message.
“I can’t accept this, but appreciate the gesture Parker,” Chambers wrote at the bottom of the third-grader’s letter. “Students like you are the reason I teach.”
Shockingly, Parker returned home from school without saying a single thing to anyone. His parents only learned about the “pay raise” after discovering the note inside his backpack.
Parker’s father, Darrell Williams, shared the letter on Facebook, and the post quickly went viral. Now his 9-year-old son is being interviewed by local TV stations and having his story featured in news outlets nationwide.
But for Parker, the gift had nothing to do with attention. The third-grader said that giving the money made him “feel really nice and good,” adding that he thought Chambers deserved the “raise.”
Parker’s gift also drew attention to a long-discussed issue in the U.S. — pay rates among public school teachers. The average elementary school teacher in the U.S. makes less than $60,000 each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But in Florida, those figures are far lower. The state currently ranks 46th nationally in teacher salaries, with average yearly earnings coming in just over $48,000.