Jim O’Connor sometimes comes across as cold. The calculus and algebra teacher at St. Francis High School near Los Angeles can be tough, his students told CBS Evening News. But, last November, one of the teens found out that O’Connor is actually as sweet as they come.
While visiting Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the student discovered that the math teacher volunteers after school at the hospital — and usually he can be found cuddling sick babies. That’s right: the toughest teacher around spends his off-time comforting babies and cuddling sick children.
Turns out that O’Connor has volunteered at the hospital for the past 20 years and is also the hospital’s top blood donor, according to the Los Angeles Times. He’s donated more than 72 gallons of blood and platelets. That enormous gift – worth well over half a million dollars had it been purchased – has been especially valuable “because he is a universal donor,” the Times reports.
“I know I’m not a tough guy,” he told CBS. “But don’t tell my students.”
“It’s almost like finding this alter ego that he has,” a baffled student said.
O’Connor has never been married and has no children of his own. Why does he volunteer? He says the answer is simple, “I don’t wanna see them alone. You can’t do that.”
Indeed, in the video below, it’s hard to imagine the math teacher as anything but kind, as he comforts infants when their parents aren’t able to be there.
The world needs more people like him. He’s living proof that you should never judge a book by its cover.