People being humans and helping their fellow humans is always a good thing. It’s even better when that help is enough to change someone’s life for the better. That’s what happened to one Southern California teacher; ABC Los Angeles reports that students got together and raised money for the teacher to buy him a car.
Like most people in Southern California, math teacher Julio Castro was a commuter. He lives in the city of Santa Clarita and teachers at a Jewish private school in L.A.’s Pico-Robertson neighborhood. And he commutes on a bus. In a car with L.A. traffic on the 5 freeway, that’s a horrible commute. It’s even worse on the bus, where Castro says it takes over two hours to get to work one way.
Students at his school must have realized the hard time he had getting to work. They gave up their summer and worked with local nonprofit organizations like Galpin Motors to raise more than $30,000. They then went and bought Castro a 2019 Mazda CX-3. There was even enough money left over to pay for a full year of gas and car insurance for Castro.
He couldn’t be happier. Castro says with his newfound freedom of having his own vehicle, he can spend more time with his family and get things done.
“Now that I have a car, I get to drop off my kids every morning. And then coming here with time to spare, I can use it on my lesson plans. Then on my way back, traffic is still bad, but I’ll be able to make it for dinner,” he said.
While this is a fantastic gesture by the students of the school who recognized a need their teacher had and helped him out, stories like these hide the ugly truth hardly anyone acknowledges or talks about. Behind this story is the real story: that a teacher at a private school’s pay is so low that he can’t afford to buy himself a vehicle so he can get to work. That’s the real problem. You can blame things like California’s high cost of living, sure. But ultimately this falls on the institution he works for that’s not paying him a good enough wage.
So remember that next time you see stories like this. Acknowledging this truth doesn’t take away from the good that was done by any means. But the fact that we celebrate these kinds of things without acknowledging that we’re depending on public and private funds to help people who have jobs when it’s the companies that should be paying better wages shows we have much deeper problems.