Houston area tutor and mentor Kenny Thompson has a new title at Valley Oaks Elementary School: Lunch angel.
Thompson, who has worked at the school for more than a decade, paid $465 to clear the accounts of some 60 students whose lunch program balance had gone unpaid at his school.
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"It was the best money I ever spent," Thompson, 52, told TODAY.com.
"It was the best gift I ever gave myself. I went into my car and screamed."
Thompson had heard about the incident at a Utah elementary school when 40 students had their meals seized and thrown in the trash
by school officials because their parents had unpaid lunch tabs. The cafeteria manager has since been placed on leave, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Thompson didn't want that to happen in his community.
"I'm like, 'Wow. I know that's probably a situation at my school, and the school my son goes to, and the other schools I mentor at,'" Thompson told television station KRPC
. "So I came in and inquired about it."
He discovered that some kids with unpaid balances were being served cold cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, instead of a hot meal. Other students didn't eat at all, as they tried to avoid the embarrassment of not eating the same lunch as their peers.
"It was horrifying, it broke my heart," Thompson told TODAY.com. "These are elementary kids. They're not bankers, and not responsible for the financial issues in the household."
The gesture meant that Thompson could no longer afford a new pair of Doc Martens, and he was willing to make the trade.
"My work boots are still good," he said.
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