Mrs. Amatuli was my teacher in the fourth grade.
One day at lunch time, I was getting ready to eat my same old tuna
fish sandwich and suddenly Mrs. Amatuli asked me if she could buy my
sandwich from me. She explained that I could use the money to buy a hot
lunch from the cafeteria.
I was thrilled. I never bought my lunch at the cafeteria. It was too
expensive for my family, and we always carried our lunch and brought the
bag back home to use again the next day. My sandwiches were either bologna
or tuna fish. It rarely varied beyond that.
You can understand my delight when I had the opportunity to buy a hot
lunch. Kids always complained about the cafeteria food but I was very
envious of them. It sure looked good to me.
When we finished lunch that day, Mrs. Amatuli took me aside and said
she wanted to explain why she had bought my sandwich. I really didn't care
why, but it gave me a few minutes of her precious attention so I was very
quiet as she explained.
You see, she was Catholic and she told me that Catholics didn't eat
red meat on Fridays -- they ate fish on Fridays.
Oh, I couldn't wait to get home and tell my Mama that from now on I
wanted tuna fish on Fridays. After my Mama understood why, she gladly
fixed tuna fish for me on Friday. She even fixed it on brown bread because
she knew Mrs. Amatuli liked brown bread.
From then on, every Friday I could get in line with the rest of the
kids for a hot lunch. I didn't care how many of the kids complained about
cafeteria food -- it tasted divine to me!
I realize now that Mrs. Amatuli could have fixed herself a tuna
sandwich on Friday. But she bought my sandwich because she saw a little
girl who was thrilled over the simple act of having a hot lunch.
I will never forget her for her compassion and generosity.