Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"He gave us lessons...in love."

The Hockaday School is an elite private school for girls in Dallas, Texas. For the past 30 years, Kafleab Tekle (known as Kief) was a security guard at the school. Working in the parking lot, he helped students in and out of cars in the carpool lane. He was the first face students saw upon arrival, and the last one they saw before going home. And he actually remembered every student's name, and her parents' names, and their make of car and license plate number. During his career, he welcomed thousands of kindergartners to their first day of class, and bid farewell to thousands of graduates.

Emily Frisby with Kief on her first day of school, and recently.

This year, after Kief announced his retirement, the Class of 2005 started a GoFundMe account to raise $2,005 as a farewell gift. But word soon spread and nearly 2,000 Hockaday graduates have contributed $185,000. Why the outpouring of gratitude? One graduate told Kief, "Everyone felt like your favorite because you had such an ability to make people feel special. No struggling student felt forgotten in your presence." The headmistress of Hockaday, Liza Lee, calls Kief a treasure. "For thirty years, he was emperor of the parking lot, and for all those years, he has been the heart and soul of Hockaday. He has given us lessons in grace, lessons in courtesy and lessons in love."

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