Florida 3rd Grader Secretly Gives His Teacher $15 With A Note That Brought His Mom To Tears

The little boy knew that teachers are being underpaid and decided to take matters into his own hands.

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A nine-year-old Florida boy decided to take matters into his own hands after learning that many public school teachers are severely underpaid.

In 2019, Mary Hall Chambers, an elementary school teacher at Gorrie Elementary in Tampa, Florida, was gifted a surprise from Parker Williams, one of her students who wanted to show appreciation for everything that she does.

The student secretly gave her $15 and a note that brought his dad to tears.

Williams decided to make a sweet gesture and brought his birthday money to school to give to Chambers. In a note attached to a ziplock bag holding the $15, Williams wrote: "Dear Mrs. Chambers, I don't think that teachers get paid enough for what they do so will you except [sic] this gift?"


At first, Chambers assumed that the money was for a field trip, but when she began reading his note, she was pleasantly surprised by the gesture. 

"When I looked at the note I said, 'Oh my gosh, this is the cutest thing I've ever seen,'" Chambers told ABC News. "I wrote the little [reply] note and I said, 'Parker, this is so sweet and such a kind gesture ... I can't take your money, but I really appreciate you looking out for me.'"

Williams' mother, Jennifer, told TODAY that she had no idea that her son was going to give his birthday money to his teacher until she saw it in his school folder.


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"We were just so surprised and impressed," Jennifer explained, adding that she and her husband, Williams' father, were both choked up. "I actually got tingles in my arms and welled up with tears because you never know as a mom if the things you try and teach your kids are really gelling, and this was such a random act of kindness that he did on his own without consulting anyone else."

She continued, saying that Williams is usually focused on saving his birthday money and they already have a rule in their household that 10 percent of any money given on their birthdays is to be donated to charity. She admitted that her son is a "sponge" and his grandmother is a career counselor, which is most likely how he learned some educators have lower salaries.

The little boy is also no stranger to helping people out, as his two older brothers started a club called the Young Philanthropist Society where they volunteer and perform good deeds in their community.


"We try to teach the importance of paying it forward — understanding that if you are blessed with resources, one of the best things you can do is share them," Jennifer said. "Seeing him living in that way makes us incredibly proud as parents."

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The young boy's good deed proves the importance of paying public school teachers more than they currently earn.

While Williams' gift to his teacher is incredibly heartwarming, there's also a level of exasperation that a nine-year-old feels the need to give his birthday money to his teacher because she's not making enough — and how aware he is of the issue at his young age.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, teacher pay has suffered a sharp decline compared to other college-educated workers' pay. On average, teachers made 26.4 percent less than other similarly educated professionals in 2022 — the lowest level since 1960.




Nearly 1 in 5 teachers have a job outside the school system. That’s on top of spending 52 hours weekly in their teaching position (fewer than half of which they spent actually teaching).

It's not even just the low pay, but the underappreciation, dealing with children, parents, and other staff members, along with having to shell out money from their own pockets for classroom supplies because public schools are severely underfunded by the federal government.


Williams' story prompts some reflection on how important it is to adequately pay teachers the amount that they deserve because they do so much, oftentimes without expecting anything in return. After all, public school teachers are responsible for shaping the minds of tomorrow, despite all of the significant hurdles they have to endure.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.