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Always open arms

I first met Mrs. Lee when I was 15, awkwardly walking on the side of the road trying to get to the first Cross Country practice of the season.

I had just transferred schools, didn't know a soul, and had snuck out of the house to go on this endeavor. Both of my parents are immigrants, and both worked exceptionally hard and long hours to buy their first house in the suburbs.

However, we'd lived in a pretty rough neighborhood before this, and leaving the house to run laps in the woods with strangers was high on their list of "things you really shouldn't do ever." So there I was. Walking with a hastily scribbled map, kind of hiding in the bushes, and roughly 3 miles away from where I needed to be. I heard a honk from behind me -- Mrs. Lee, driving her minivan and ushering me into the car to go to practice with Kristen and Eric, who I'd just met two days before. Without hesitation, I hopped in.

Over the course of the next two years, Mrs. Lee would drive me to practice, pick me up from school when my own parents weren't slated to come and get me until 9pm, and let me hang out at her house (and eat all of her snacks) whenever I wanted to.

Throughout these transformative teenage years, she encouraged me to do things that interested me and was always a wonderful listener for the things that my own parents couldn't understand about high school in America. It is no doubt in my mind that because of Mrs. Lee, I am who I am today. Because of her kindness, I was able to take part in things that interested and inspired me that my own parents weren't able to get me to or didn't want me to do. There was an abundance of opportunity for me out there, and Mrs. Lee was the one who both literally and figuratively got me from point A to point B. I'd never felt such hospitality before I met Mrs. Lee -- normally, somebody always wanted something in exchange, a favor in return.

But Mrs. Lee didn't want anything, and I certainly never said "Thank you" enough.

So thank you Mrs. Lee, for being an amazing other mother to me all of those years!


- This story was submitted by Jenn -

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