If this won’t tug at your heartstrings, I don’t know what will.
Linda Hooper met Cruz Riojas in 1981 — back when she was teaching elementary school. Riojas was in the sixth grade.
Cruz grew up in a broken home — his stepfather beat him (he was husband No. 5), and his mother moved Cruz out of the house and into Hooper’s after he graduated elementary school.
At school, Cruz and Hooper grew closer — he started opening up to her and started asking her if he could help out around the classroom. It became clear that the bond they were forming became a place of “refuge” for Cruz.
Shortly after entering seventh grade, Cruz got into a fight with his stepfather and was kicked out of their one bedroom “house” — he was 12.
From Lubbock Online:
Cruz’s mom packed everything he owned in a cardboard box, called Hooper and took her son to hide at a nearby truck stop. When Hooper arrived, she found the two behind an 18-wheeler, and Cruz’s mom asked if Hooper could keep him for the weekend — just until things at home calmed down.
“He never left,” Hooper said. “I had him from then on.”
h/t Lubbock Online