When schools in Oklahoma closed last month because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 4-year-old Cruze Hubbard needed to learn only 20 more "sight words" to claim a big prize from his pre-K teacher at Locust Grove Early Learning Center, Ms. Atchley.
"If they complete all 50 in the school year, I will buy them lunch, and eat with them in the cafeteria," Atchley said. "It's kind of a motivation."
Cruze kept working at home, and eventually, learned all 50 words. But told his mother Shandel, he was was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to have lunch with his teacher.
Hubbard made a video of Cruze identifying his sight words and sent it to Atchley, who wasn't about to let distance learning get in the way of Cruze's reward.
"I was like, 'Oh yes, I will. I will find a way,'" Atchley said.
Cruze asked for a cheeseburger from McDonald's. The next day, Atchley arrived with lunch.
"He was so excited, and I missed him so much," Atchley said. "I was excited to see him."
Like most of us, Atchley says the last few weeks have made her realize how many things we take for granted. She's delivered on that promised lunch for years, but this one was special.
"It was an honor, it was humbling... it was a little bit of joy with all that's going on," Atchley said.
This story was originally published by Cayden McFarland on KJRH in Tulsa, Oklahoma.