When a boy asked his working mom if she would make him an extra lunch to take to school, she grew suspicious. However, once she found out his reason, she was utterly stunned.
As moms with sons know, teenage boys often reach a point in their development where they seem to have an insatiable appetite. So, when Josette Duran was suddenly asked by her son to make him double the food when she packed his school lunch, she assumed the normal amount just wasn’t satisfying his hunger.
“About the second week that school started this year, I was making Dylan’s lunch in the morning and out of nowhere, he said ‘Mama, can you make two lunches?'” Duran told ABC News.
Dylan, 14, had just started his high school year in Albuquerque when he made the request. Naturally, Josette thought he was asking for himself but wanted to be sure since her grocery bill would not be doubling. When she questioned her son on the matter, she was taken aback by his straightforward answer.
Dylan told his mom that the meals are plenty for himself. However, he had a classmate who doesn’t get any lunch each day, and the teen wanted to make sure the boy was getting fed, she told Today.
“I asked, ‘Why? Are you not getting full? What’s going on?’ And he says, ‘No, I’m getting full, but I want to take one for my friend,'” Josette Duran recalled.
The teen explained how the other student sits down to lunch each day with nothing more than a small cup of fruit because he can’t afford the school lunches and has nothing else to bring with him.
Dylan told Josette Duran that “there’s a little boy at school” who “only eats a fruit cup,” adding that he has “no money” and asking, “Can you make two lunches?” Josette, of course, said, “Sure.”
Josette, who coaches the school’s volleyball team, immediately packed her son a second lunch complete with a sandwich, several sides, and a drink. For weeks, Josette continued to send an extra lunch with Dylan until one day when the boy’s mother introduced herself and tried to pay her back for the lunches. Of course, Josette refused the offer.
“Dylan said, ‘Mom, this is the boy,'” Josette Duran recalled. “Up until then, I didn’t ask, ‘What does he look like? Show me.’ I didn’t even care at that point. She [the mother] told me, ‘Thank you for feeding him. He’s doing better in school,’ and that my son is his best friend.”
As it turns out, the boy was too ashamed to apply for the school’s reduced lunch program. Luckily, Dylan convinced him that it was nothing to be embarrassed about. Still, Josette says she would have continued to pack a second lunch if the boy hadn’t applied for free meals through the school because she knows how it feels to be in that situation.
“I was homeless a few years ago. I know how hard it is to ask for help. You get ashamed and feel embarrassed,” she said, adding that she also felt isolated from friends and loved ones “because we didn’t want anyone to know what was going on with us.”
Josette explained that years earlier she had become homeless as a single mom after losing her job. She and her son were living out of her car and bathing in public bathrooms. Additionally, they barely had enough food to survive. When she made the decision to pack an extra lunch for the boy, she was only doing what she hoped others would’ve done for her son.
“I don’t think I did anything special,” Josette told Inside Edition. “I just did what a human being is supposed to do.”
Soon after, Josette Duran organized a school fundraiser to raise money for families who cannot afford school lunches. The event raised over $400 to wipe out the debts of all children eating in the cafeteria.
Josette Duran has gone above and beyond to make sure the students in her care are getting their basic needs met. She is exactly the kind of teacher that parents want to have for their children.
Of course, without Dylan’s compassion and understanding, the boy likely would have gone unnoticed for the rest of the school year. Thankfully, there are still parents out there who are teaching their children to look out for the vulnerable.