Jim O’Connor is a math teacher at St. Francis High School. None of the students are really too keen on the tough, stoic teacher. Most see him as heartless. Even O’Connor admits it, he doesn’t think school should be fun. High school senior Pat McGoldrick wasn’t a fan of Jim until the student discovered his teacher’s alter ego.
“It was disbelief, really,” McGoldrick says. “It was almost, like, kind of finding this alter ego that he has.”
While McGoldrick was helping organize a student blood drive at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, all of the hospital staff would come up to him. When they heard McGoldrick went to St. Francis High School, they asked him if he must know the wonderful, kind Jim O’Connor. It didn’t make any sense to the student. How was the cold, heartless teacher he knew being characterized as warm and compassionate? Then he saw a plaque of the hospital’s top blood donors and there was Jim O’Connor’s name.
O’Connor had donated a record-breaking amount of blood. Then, McGoldrick discovered something else. For the past 20 years, three days a week, O’Connor goes to the hospital to hold, feed, comfort newborns when their parents cannot. He was in disbelief. He realized he didn’t know his teacher at all, behind the tough exterior was one of the kindest men he had ever known.
“I’ve always respected him, but now it’s to an even different degree — really to the point where I try to emulate him,” McGoldrick says. “He’s the epitome of a man of service.”
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