By: Adam Sutton
“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” Mr. Jones belted out in the traditional fashion having just finished the opening monologue.
“Come in Mr. and Mrs. Jones. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Osman is in my 3rd period class. He sits right over there,” Mr. Fleet points to a seat near the front of the classroom. “I’ve got his grades right here on my computer, but let’s start with non-grade observations.”
“That’s probably a good idea,” his dad interjects. Everyone has a nervous chuckle.
“Yes. Yes,” Mr. Fleet continues, “He is well behaved, even attentive in class. He doesn’t shout out or disrespect anyone. Almost everyone in class seems to get along really well with him. When he does participate—he doesn’t like to but when he does—he has good insights and interesting questions. Just the other day, we were going over slavery and plantations, and he had an interesting question about college basketball and plantation owners. I think he may have been listening to Mike Wilbon. It was a great moment. So, all that is good.”
“But,” this time his mom leans forward, adjusting in her seat.
“But, when it comes time to hand in work, he doesn’t,” Mr. Fleet says.
“Hey, Osman! Good to see you this morning,” Mr. Fleet said, almost bumping into the young man with his shopping cart.
“Oh, Mr. Fleet, it’s nice to see you again. We didn’t know you shopped here,” Mrs. Jones said as if it were a question.
“Pretty much every Saturday morning. I’m a little later than normal today. I’m happy to report Osman is doing better too.”
“Yes, yes. We’ve noticed his grade have gone up steadily,” his dad pointed out. “We appreciate your time and patience with him this year. 9th grade has been a little tougher than the others, but you’ve been great. Thank you,” Mr. Jones said appreciatively.
“Oh no problem. He’s a good kid,” Mr. Fleet said as he patted Osman on the back. “Well, I don’t want to keep you from your day. It’s great seeing you guys.”
As the families departed, Mr. Jones stuck his hand out, shaking Mr. Fleet’s, “I just wanted to say thank you again,” as he clenched Mr. Fleet’s hand, looked him in the eye and patted him on the shoulder, it was clear his gratitude was sincere. As Mr. Jones pulled back, he asked curiously, scrunching up his face, “Do you know who I am?”
“You’re Osman’s dad. Isn’t that enough?” Mr. Fleet asked in return.