First-grade teacher Lindsey Lopez thought an unknown e-card was nothing but spam. However, when she opened it she realized she had received a message from the "Mystery Messenger":
"Once I clicked on the link and read it, I was just so happy," Lopez said, recalling its message of appreciation for all that she does for children, writes Jeffrey S. Solochek at the St. Petersburg Times.
No one has yet uncovered the identity of the writer. Nine weeks into the school year and Northwest staff continue to receive weekly messages of inspiration.
The notes started appearing around Northwest Elementary School during the first week of classes. "People should be more like you," one read. "We're all in this together," stated another.
Solochek writes that, last week, everyone got a dictionary page with his or her name printed in colorful marker and arrows pointing to a carefully chosen word and definition, with the added note "you are â¦"
"It really does make you feel good," said first- and second-grade resource teacher Tammy Hickey, who has all the cards and messages displayed in her classroom. "Some days, you are moved to tears because of these."
At a time when teacher morale is low for a variety of reasons, from stagnant pay to increasing responsibilities and changing evaluations, many at Northwest appreciate the small gesture.
"It's awesome," said fourth-grade special education teacher Christine Hollander. "It's somebody trying to make things lighter. â¦ It just makes you forget the other things and remember what we're here for, and I love that."
Speculation is that it is somebody who works at the school.
"I'm usually here by 7:30 a.m., and I'm here until at least 5 p.m.," principal Tracy Graziaplene said. "I don't see them."
"It's exciting and kind of cool that it's anonymous," she said, likening the school's greeting elf to a masked superhero. "We kind of need a superhero or a mystical creature to keep us uplifted."
Even Lopez isn't sure she wants to know the identity.
"I so want to know. But I'm scared, though, because I don't want it to end," she said.
If it does end, it's fairly certain that the generosity won't be forgotten any time soon.