Mrs. Carletti was my Trigonometry teacher in my senior year in high school. It didn’t take long for both of us to discover I was in over my head when it came to Trig.
She asked me to stay after class one day and said, “Look, I know you’re struggling. So, I’m going to make you a deal. Keep doing your best and don’t give me any trouble in class and I’m going to pass you with a C-. But, I’ll call in a couple of favors. Deal?”
I gladly say, “Deal!”
One Friday after class, she said to me, “Are you going to the school dance tonight? I said, “Yes, ma’am.” She said, “Save me a dance. I’m going to call in my two favors tonight.” I said, “Yes, ma’am.”
Someone had taught me how to do the “box step” to slow dance. So, while I was doing the box step in my dance with Mrs. Carletti that evening, she said, “See those two girls, seated over in the corner?”
I looked over and recognized them and knew their names. I said, “Yes, ma’am.”
She said, “I’ve been chaperoning these dances since you were all sophomores. And those two girls haven’t had a dance. You’re going to fix that tonight.
“And here’s how you’re going to do it. You’re going to walk over to each girl, look her in the eyes and say, “Will you dance with me? They’ll be surprised.
“But when they see you really mean it, they’ll accept. They’ll be really nervous. You’re a funny guy. Do what you do and get them laughing.
“After the dance, walk them back to their seats, look them in the eyes, and say, “Thank you for dancing with me.” I said, ‘Yes, ma’am.”
I walked over to the first girl, looked her in the eyes and said, “Will you dance with me?” She did act surprised but accepted. She was trembling when we first started dancing.
I don’t remember what I said or did, but we were both soon laughing. She relaxed and we had a good dance. I walked her back to her seat, looked her in the eyes and said, “Thank you for dancing with me.”
I then repeated the process with the second girl. After I walked her back to her seat and thanked her for dancing with me, I looked over at Mrs. Carletti.
It was like the scene in the movie The Karate Kid after Daniel won his last match in the tournament and the camera zoomed in on Mr. Miagui’s face: He was beaming. Mrs. Carletti was looking at me and beaming.
Of all my fun high school memories, and there are many, the one that warms my heart the most is the memory of my dancing with those two wonderful girls.
Mrs. Carletti taught me a great life lesson: The best way to make YOUR day is to make someone else’s. This lesson has served me well in my life. Thank you, Mrs. Carletti.
Oh yeah, I passed Trig with a C-, which gave me more joy than you can possibly imagine.
So, make someone’s day today in some small thoughtful way. Yep, it’ll make your day, too.