Be the kindness someone will never forget
Meet Mrs. Blore.
She was the attendance secretary at my high school, Montcalm Secondary School. She was also one of the kindest and most caring people I encountered in my entire childhood.
Mrs. Blore had her desk tucked in a tight corner of a closed concept office that The Property Brothers would’ve had a stroke over.
It didn’t matter though, because her desk was the hub of the administrative hall of the school. You could hear her laugh from three wings over. She was boisterous, funny, loud, friendly, kind, and it was hard to fathom just how much she cared about students, their attendance, their well-being, and their success. It really bums me out to see how automated and app based attendance is now, because as a result my kids won’t have their own Mrs. Blore.
Walking by Mrs. Blore’s office without saying hi wasn’t an option. She must have known how your shoes sounded, how you breathed, or how your shadow looked because she would CALL YOU OUT if you tried to tip toe by without checking in to say hello and receive some matronly kindness.
It always stood out to me in terms of just how much she cared. She wanted to celebrate your successes. She could tell when you were struggling and offered extra support and leeway.
In my grade 12 year, my dad got sick. When he got sick, his insulin stopped working. When his insulin stopped working, his blood sugar skyrocketed and he ended up in the hospital not knowing who I was.
With the closest family two hours away, I was raising myself for the week plus my dad was in hospital. One day I didn’t show up to school because I turned my alarm off without waking up. Mrs Blore called and called and called. I showed up for fourth period and spoiled her plans to come check on me after school. Once she found out why I didn’t come, she offered to bring me dinner. It’s okay Mrs. Blore, I’ve been cooking since I was nine I tell her. In reality, I loved homecooked meals but was very uncomfortable taking kind gestures since they were so rare and made me so sad to realize how foreign they were.
Around this time, I decided I would do anything for this lady because she was so kind and cared so much and made me feel so important to her. While walking through the smoking pit outside, I hear someone use an unkind expletive about her while complaining about her coming outside and interrupting his smoke to insist he go to class. I informed this gentleman that he was talking about someone who was like a mother to me, and I would happily kick his teeth clear across Highbury if he called her that again. Highbury is a wide road. He declined.
I got to the point where I trusted Mrs. Blore so much that for the first time I would seek an adult, her, out when I was excited.
I ran into Mrs. Blore‘s office one day to happily tell her I was asked to travel to the US for AAU basketball by a team out of Toronto.
She asked when I left. I told her I wasn’t going. She asked why as her face fell. I told her my dad was on disability and we had no money and couldn’t afford it. She told me she was proud of me and to come see her at the end of the day.
When I walked into her office at the end of the day, she handed me a ziploc bag full of money and said “this is for you.” More money than I had ever seen in my life 10 times over.
My jaw dropped and my eyes welled up with tears. I asked her where it came from. She told me “I know how badly you want to be scouted by American college coaches and realized how big of an opportunity this was for you. I hit up every single staff member in the building for a donation and almost every single one chipped in.
lt was almost $900.
She handed me a cheque as well and said “this is for you too”. It was from the principal. I asked her why. It turned out that the principal has a discretionary fund for students in need and wanted to buy me new shoes because my toes were visible.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I choked out a thank you and gave her the fiercest hug my scrawny arms could manage. l
This was the opportunity I always wanted. I couldn’t believe so many people were being so kind to me. I joined that team. I played in front of college coaches. I ended up getting recruited by 45 of them and signed a full scholarship.
I’ll never forget Mrs. Blore. She believed in me more than I believed in myself. She wanted me to succeed and did everything in her power and then some to make it happen. When I was at my loneliest and most isolated, she was bellowing for me to come give her a hug. She made me feel welcome and cared about at a time when I needed it more than I realized.
We are all adults now and fully actualized according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We can now share our abundance simply by being more like Mrs. Blore. Seeing those who feel invisible. Going out of our way to make them feel accepted. Doing what we can to support and believe in eachother and helping bring out the best in ourselves for the sake of us all.
I will never forget Mrs.Blore and I will always spread the kindness and concern she showed me when I needed it most. Questioning where I was going, if I would succeed, and if anyone was cheering for me.
According to Facebook, Mrs. Blore is still local and has a profile. I’m going to send her a note to say hello and thank her for being exactly what so many troubled kids needed.
Let’s all be a little more like Mrs Blore. Our world and our future need it.