High school principal caught working at Walmart gives a heartbreaking explanation. Anyone who visited the Charleston, South Carolina Walmart at night would probably run into a hardworking employee named Henry Darby.
But what most unsuspecting shoppers probably didn’t realize was that Henry was also the principal of a local high school. While many people in the community expressed confusion over Henry’s double life, the truth behind his busy schedule would rock his community to its core. Henry has always been a private person.
As such, not many people knew that he was balancing two jobs at once. “I don’t think that I’ve done anything really of distinction to warrant the attention,” a humble Henry commented during an interview. “The attention, I’m not used to it. I don’t think that I’ve done anything worthy of distinction to warrant the attention.” But if that was the case, then why was Henry suddenly in the media spotlight?
Well, for one thing, his schedule seemed superhuman. From 10 pm until 7 am, Henry tirelessly toiled away at his local Walmart. And while his co-workers might have been happy to head home after the overnight shift, Darby didn’t have that luxury.
He had his other job, not to mention his role as a community leader, to take on. As soon as he finished his Walmart shift, Henry would travel to North Charleston High School, where he was the beloved principal.
Henry maintained personal relationships with his students and kept close tabs on their well-being. Sadly, many of these kids faced grueling challenges. “Everybody knows that when I see my student come here, boy, come here, child, come here, give me a bigger meet them at the door off the buses.
You got problems, they come here, give me a hug. Anyhow, I’m just that type of guy.” North Charleston High School was not one of those schools that are located in a well-to-do area. In fact, over 90 percent of its student body came from families that lived below the poverty line. When asked about his students’ struggles, Henry couldn’t hold back the tears in his eyes during a pressing interview.
Henry revealed the harsh conditions under which many of his students suffered. While some found themselves sleeping under a bridge, others ended up sleeping in a car as their families were unable to afford a proper home. Astonishingly, this wasn’t the full extent of the issues faced by the North Charleston attendees.
Henry enjoyed checking in on his students at their homes, where he talked to them about their lives and ensured that they were in a safe environment. During these visits, he encountered homes where there were windows without curtains and bare mattresses laying on the floor with no other furniture around.
Understandably, these conditions inspired Henry to lend a helping hand. “I get a little emotional because when you’ve got children, you’ve heard sleeping under a bridge or a former student at her child sleeping in a car, or when you go to a parent’s house because there are problems and you knock on the door, there are no curtains, and you see a mattress on the floor. These people need, and I wasn’t going to say no. And at my age, you know, we don’t ask for money. We just don’t.
You just go ahead and do what you need to do.” While already faced with a swarm of struggles, the lives of the kids of North Charleston High School were about to get even more complicated as COVID-19 swept across the globe. Suddenly, limited finances were not their only issue. Now, students’ health and social lives were about to be impacted as well. “COVID-19 has really placed a damper on the personal relationship because at North Charleston High School, we do express the three Rs: rigor, relevance, and relationship.
Though already dedicated to his students, Henry was forced to think of new solutions as the COVID-19 pandemic changed life as they knew it. His life coaching and home visits would no longer be a way to see them through tough times. But little did the community know that Henry had a plan. Remember how Henry called himself a fairly private person? Well, one day, he came up with a solution that nobody else was even aware of.
Henry applied for a night shift position at Walmart, not even mentioning to the store manager that he was also a school principal. At that moment, Henry began to show the true extent of his generosity. Every evening, Henry would drive from his day job as a principal to his night job at Walmart, where he would stock shelves on the graveyard shift. In a true act of kindness, Henry would dedicate every single dime of his Walmart income to his students by purchasing whatever supplies they lacked. But it would only be a matter of time until word of his double life got out.
“He’s ready to help anybody. He’s impacting the community in a very special way. He’s there when you least expect it, but when you need him the most.” Even before Henry’s secret was revealed, Walmart manager Cynthia Solomon knew that there was something special about him. “I would be so happy to have Mr.
Darby for as long as he will have us as a part of his family,” Cynthia exclaimed. But what inspired the principal to express such kindness and tireless dedication towards his students? Even before we knew there was something special about him, I would be so happy to have Mr. Darby for as long as he will have us as a part of his family and beyond. When Henry saw his students, he was immediately reminded of his own childhood struggles.
Having lost his father at a young age, Henry and his mother had to seek alternative ways to make ends meet. He recalled going with his mother to collect milk and soda bottles from the roadside while also visiting the dump to see if there was anything that could help them get by. Henry remembered how one day at the dump, his mother reached into all the gunk and fished out a white cloth. From that piece of fabric, she was able to make Henry a shirt to wear to school. “I’m very appreciative of my mother who had no shame in helping her child to become a teacher.
Sadly, tragedy would soon strike. “My son is going to become a teacher,” Henry’s proud mother would say of her son. Tragically, she never managed to see her boy fulfill his goal as she passed away while he was still in college. Still, Henry never forgot his mother’s sacrifice. “I’m very appreciative of my mother who had no shame in helping her child to become a teacher,” he declared.
Driven by his mother’s memory, Henry worked tirelessly at Walmart to support his students while providing them with education during the day. That is until the community discovered Henry’s double life. Truly taken aback by his absolute selflessness, his Walmart family decided that it was high time to provide Henry and his school with a much-deserved reward.
One day in the chilly winter, the staff at Henry’s Walmart decided to call him to a gathering on his school’s football field, where a large group of his students waited to greet him. It was there that Henry was interviewed by reporters from the Today Show, who were touched by his selfless acts of kindness.
But what Henry didn’t know was that there was a surprise waiting for him. “Amen to that, and I am so honored to be standing here with Principal Henry Darby and the students of North Charleston High School. And here’s the thing about Mr. Darby. Mr.
Darby isn’t just the principal here. You’ve been here your whole life. This isn’t just a job. This is your community. That’s correct, sir.
As Henry engaged in his heartwarming interview, his Walmart manager Cynthia stood by his side, along with the rest of his Walmart associates. Soon enough, the interviewer called Cynthia to center stage, where she stepped forward with a blue Walmart bag in her hand. What lay inside would change the lives of Henry’s students forever. Once Cynthia and her staff found out about Henry’s double life, she explained, they desperately wanted to help him uplift the students of North Charleston High School. After opening the bag, Henry’s jaw dropped to the floor as he saw a check for fifty thousand dollars written out.
But even as his students erupted in applause, Henry knew that his job wasn’t over yet. “You have to open that on TV, Principal Darby. You gotta. Oh my. Put that and read it.
What does it say? And turn it around.” “Oh. Oh. What does it say?
“It says paid to the order of North Charleston High School, fifty thousand.” Even with North Charleston receiving such a large donation, Henry was determined to continue working night shifts at Walmart and sending all his wages to his students. There was just one thing that Henry requested from his students in return, however. “That’s my question. I mean, now that you’ve got the fifty thousand, are you gonna leave Walmart?
You’re gonna keep, uh…” “Absolutely not, sir. If I’m gonna stick with Walmart as long as Ms.
Solomon allows me to work, sir, I hope to continue working at Walmart. And you’re still going to make sure all that money that you’re earning…” “Oh, yes, sir.
That’s the definition, yes, sir.” It really is a remarkable story. Thank you very much, sir. Thank you. Thank you.
He only asked these young people to do one thing. It’s quite simple, simplistic. Just learn to help others. That is one of the greatest things we can do in terms of human beings. Through his loving kindness, Henry has proven this statement to be true.
“I am an optimist, but I’m also a determinist. I know that it’s going to get better. I know that these times will not always be with us. I know that my students will not always be in poverty. I know that because that’s what we are. America makes it better for everybody.”
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