Nate Davis, resident of Wichita, Kansas, did some terrible things growing up.
He got involved in a variety of crimes – burglary, arson, probation violations – and spent a good part of his teen years in and out of juvenile detention centers. Although few years down the road he did turn his life around and became a better person, he still regrets all the bad things he did during his teenage years.
However, of everything he has done in his past, the 31-year-old – who is now married and has children of his own – feels most remorseful for the way he acted around his former middle school teacher Ruth Florence. She was a wheelchair-bound seventh-grade Spanish teacher at Brooks Middle School in 1997 and was regularly targeted by Davis, who annoyed her to bolster his image as the class clown.
As a troubled 12-year-old, Davis recalls dumping pencil shavings onto the teacher’s head during the class and stealing items out of her purse among many other misdemeanors. On one occasion, he even pushed her down the hallway and locked her out of the class.
“Over the course of my life, I haven’t been great to lots of people – but her, specifically. I never got suspended for the things I did to her. I never got in trouble because she never reported it,” he said, adding that the teacher modeled grace and forgiveness by continually forgiving his 12-year-old self and never reporting him for his behavior.
“I used Mrs. Florence's vulnerability of being in a wheelchair as my stage to act up in her class, more than other classes,” he remembered. “There were a lot of people I've mistreated in my life through one thing or another but hers was just pretty brutal.”
Davis’ remorse was prompted in part by a thread on Humans of New York’s Facebook page, which reminded him of his transgressions and encouraged him to initiate a search for her. After trying to reach the school officials but having no luck, he decided to post a video on his Facebook page, asking the viewers to share it and help him look for Florence.
**UPDATE CAN BE SEEN HERE!** http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/kansas-man-searches-teacher-apologize-classroom-behavior-18/story?id=31803341Posted by Dogg Pound Ministries on Thursday, June 11, 2015
Within few short hours of posting this video, Davis’ Facebook notifications exploded with a number of comments where people praised him for his courage to acknowledge his wrongdoing. People who knew Florence also contacted the 31-year-old and informed him about the teacher who had tragically passed away in 2008. Someone even sent him her online obituary.
Although he was upset to hear about Florence’s death, he still wants to apologize to her family members. One of Florence’s nieces has even agreed to meet with Davis, who plans to tell her how patient and forgiving her aunt was.
“I feel like I’ve made my peace with God, like he’s forgiven me for the person I was back then. So it’s not like this is going to haunt me or bother me,” he explained. “I just wanted to make it right with her.”
The father of five also hopes that his story will inspire others to reflect on their past mistakes seek forgiveness from the ones they may have wronged.