Acts of Kindness

Homeless Substitute Teacher Turns And Sees Former Student Holding Check

March 24th, 2021

You know what they say — there’s no way to know what’s really going on behind closed doors. In other words, people can put on a good front, making it appear that everything in their life is great. But in reality, they’re suffering in one way or another.

Meet Jose Villarruel

Mr. Villarruel works as a substitute teacher at the Fontana Unified School District in Southern California. He cherishes his job. This man truly enjoys seeing his students and getting the chance to interact with them … it’s the highlight of his day.

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YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles Source: YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles

Fallen on hard times

For a long time, Mr. Villarruel’s life was good. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, schools began to close their doors. That meant he started to see a dramatic reduction in pay, even though he wasn’t making much as it was.

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Unsplash/Ruben Rodriguez Source: Unsplash/Ruben Rodriguez

Family first

Along with his students, Mr. Villarruel loves his family. With his meager earnings, he does everything possible to provide them with what they need. But this substitute teacher had a secret.

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Unsplash/Josh Appel Source: Unsplash/Josh Appel

Living out of his car

That’s right, to ensure he can take care of his immediate and extended family living in Mexico, Mr. Villarreul has lived in his car for several years. He never complains, which is why no one knew the truth. Unfortunately, the pandemic made a bad situation even worse.

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Unsplash/justdevoyage Source: Unsplash/justdevoyage

Something didn’t seem right

One eagle-eyed former student by the name of Steve Nava noticed something that didn’t look quite right. He stated, “Every day, I’d go out to work around 5 a.m. and see him going through his trunk.” Watching Mr. Villarruel rummage through his 1997 Ford Thunderbird LX day-after-day, he figured out what was going on.

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Unsplash/Joshua Case Source: Unsplash/Joshua Case

He had to do something to help

Steve fondly remembered this particular teacher. He was kind, understanding, and patient. Although Mr. Villarruel might not have realized it, he’d made quite an impact on this student and many others. To Steve, him living out of his car wasn’t acceptable.

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

Underpaid

Teachers across the country aren’t paid enough money for the work they do. On average, teachers earn between $22,000 and $32,000 annually. As for substitute teachers, income is much less … between $10 and $15 per hour and they seldom work 40 hours per week.

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Pexels/Karolina Grabowska Source: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

Time for a fundraiser

Disturbed by what he saw, Steve didn’t hesitate to jump into action. He started a GoFundMe as a way to eliminate some of this man’s burdens. And in just six days, the fundraiser had shot up over $27,000.

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YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles Source: YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles

How did he succeed?

Well, Steve wrote a wonderful message on the GoFundMe page to help people understand who Mr. Villarruel was. It said:

“Mr. V was a great, funny, and helpful educator and substitute teacher in the Fontana Unified School District. He’s struggled with getting back on his feet after the pandemic hit and has been living in his car ever since despite the brutal weather and living conditions.”

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YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles Source: YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles

Steve’s message went on to say, “This fundraiser is to help him out financially and getting back to normal life. Any help is appreciated, thank you … God bless.” His words pulled on the heartstrings of many who were more than willing to add to the fundraiser.

Beyond touched

The best part was when Mr. Villarruel received a check for $27,000, which happened to be on his 77th birthday, unbeknownst to Steve. One thing he did … buy a new car. In response, this substitute teacher stated, “I’m still trying to digest the entire experience. It’s extraordinary, totally unexpected.”

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YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles Source: YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles

You’ll agree when Steve was quoted as saying, “We don’t appreciate these teachers enough, and that’s something that we should be doing.” This story just goes to show that you don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life. But if you discover they need help, it doesn’t take much to succeed.

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YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles Source: YouTube Screenshot/Fox 11 Los Angeles

Watch the heartwarming video below to see the big surprise for yourself!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Fox 11 Los Angeles, People

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