It is not uncommon to have a day where you begin to wonder if your job is as fulfilling as you want it to be, especially if you are in the teaching profession. Strong-willed children, high expectations, and little appreciation can all add up to a day such as this.
On one of those days, a South Carolina teacher received unexpected confirmation that her profession was rewarding when she spotted a 7-year-old boy riding his bicycle on the side of the road.
Keller Sutherland, a first-grade teacher at Ellen Woodside Elementary, decided to go home early after a meeting was canceled on Wednesday, Feb. 6th. It had been a rough day, so she treated herself to a pack of crackers from a vending machine before driving home.
She described the day as “a day that just didn’t seem to be going good, a day that seemed like I wasn’t making a difference with my students, a day I felt like I was failing at everything, and a day where I simply texted a few friends of mine and asked for prayer!”
“As I left work that day I looked forward to going home and resting BUT GOD had a different plan and I’m so glad he did,” she continued in a Facebook post.
Seven-year-old Cameron Simoncic also went home that day just like any normal day, but when he got home he knew something wasn’t right; the second-grader found his father unconscious in the kitchen.
“My dad has diabetes and whenever he has these episodes and whenever it happens, his brain can’t function,” he told WSPA.
The smart young boy knew that his father needed immediate medical attention, but couldn’t unlock his father’s phone to call for help. After unsuccessfully checking to see if any of their neighbors were home, the young boy grabbed his bike and headed toward his grandmother’s house 5 miles away.
It was on his dangerous trek over four lanes of traffic to get his grandmother’s house that Cameron and Sutherland’s paths crossed.
Still sitting in the heaviness of a rough day, Sutherland was driving while talking to her husband on the phone when she saw a small boy riding his bike beside the highway.
“I just told my husband, I said there’s a small child on his bicycle riding down the road,” Sutherland told WSPA. “I’m not sure what’s going on but I feel like I need to just turn around and see what’s going on.”
When she pulled over, she realized that she knew the young boy — Cameron had been one of her students the year before.
Knowing that time was of the essence, Cameron quickly told his first grade teacher about his father at home. Two other concerned strangers pulled over as well and called 911 while Sutherland helped keep the young boy calm.
Both paramedics and firefighters responded quickly so that Cameron could direct them to his house. “The ambulance came, the firemen came. The firemen were really nice to me,” he recalled.
The paramedics gave Cameron’s father the necessary injection and then used the crackers Sutherland had bought earlier that afternoon to help normalize his blood sugar levels.
“I am still overwhelmed by the amazing strength and determination this child had to do what he was attempting to do,” Sutherland later wrote on Facebook. “Even though he didn’t make it to Grandma’s, I am incredibly grateful to have passed by him when I did! There is no doubt that this moment was a divine intervention from God!!!”
Sutherland not only recognized how brave Cameron had been in the face of such a scary situation, but also thanked the young boy for helping her remember that teachers can help students succeed outside of the classroom as well. It was a reminder that she especially needed on that Wednesday afternoon.
“(God) showed me teaching goes far beyond the classroom and that what we do for our students outside the classroom is way more important!” she wrote. “I want to always remember this day and have God continue to use me like he did but I also can’t wait to see what he does in this little boy’s life!”
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