No one wants to feel like someone is keeping a secret from them. It erodes trust in a relationship. One thing math teacher Jim O’Conner never hid from his students was the fact that he was a Vietnam War veteran. He loved having people know this fact about him. At 70-years-old, he keeps up the militaristic appearance with a short haircut and sharp eyes that keep track of all the children in his class.
Because he witnessed atrocities in Vietnam that few could ever bear, dealing with a group of students is a piece of cake for him. Nevertheless, he uses all the skills he learned while serving in the United States military to keep his misguided students in line and teach them the value of discipline and hard work.
His “no bull” approach earns Mr. O’Conner a lot of respect from his students. They know that he’s the one teacher at St. Francis High School in California that should not be messed with. Students who have tried to get one over on Math-whiz Mr. O’Conner quickly learned their lesson.
He teaches algebra and calculus to 32 teenage boys. St. Francis is an all-boys school, so he has to deal with a lot of pushback and vying for power.
However, Jim has been keeping a big secret from his students. Because he never married and never had children, he always had a gaping hole in his life when it came to family. That’s why he spends his nights and weekends as a TLC Volunteer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as a so-called “baby whisperer.” Jim has a knack for calming down the newborn infants who need a little bit of love and attention. He’s been going to the hospital several days each week for the last two decades, and he absolutely loves it.
Jim first started working with the hospital when a friend convinced him to join a blood drive. Because he has the universal blood type, his type O negative blood is very valuable. He began to come to donate regularly and soon managed to become the hospital’s most generous donor, giving away 72 gallons of blood so far.
Every time Jim left the hospital, he felt good having given blood, but he also felt bad because he saw so many sick kids struggling against the odds. Eventually, he asked how he could help them. He was eager to do whatever he could to ease their pain and suffering, of which they had way too much for their age.
Before long, Jim discovered he had a magic power with the babies. He could soothe them so easily whenever he cradled and rocked them.
When his teenage students learned about Jim’s after-school passion, they knew he had to be recognized for it. Not only was their strict math teacher a war veteran, but he also had a heart of gold. If anyone deserves a little bit of extra recognition after a life well lived, it is Jim O’Conner.
What do you think about this Vietnam veteran’s secret hobby?