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BRANDON – On Aug. 4, in the middle of Staples at Regency Square, Rodney Burton heard God speak to him.
“He said, ‘There’s someone here you need to do something for,’” said Burton. “I felt like He was talking about a teacher.”
“It’s a respect thing. They give so much, every day,” he said. “They should be the highest-paid people out there. They inspire kids, transform parents and change lives for good, never knowing the impact one conversation might have. Why not give back to the people who give so much?”
When Burton and his wife, Audra, got in line at the register, “this lady in front of me had so much stuff in her basket; I thought she’s got to be a teacher.”
The woman was Brandon-resident Sharon Leto, a science teacher for Hillsborough High School’s International Baccalaureate program.
“The most wonderful thing happened,” she said. “While I waited in line, the man behind me asked if I was a school teacher. When I said yes, he said, ‘Today is your lucky day! I’m going to pay for everything in your cart.’
“My cart was full, but he didn’t seem to care,” said Leto. “He said, ‘We don’t do enough for our teachers,’ and he just wanted to pay it forward. …I was speechless and moved to tears, right there in the checkout line.”