St. James Primary school was undergoing inspection in the afternoon, and Sam’s dad was the chief inspector. At recess, a group gathered around Sam.
“Is my uniform good enough?”
“Will your dad ask any questions from the lessons?” another kid asked.
Sam shrugged. He was not sure.
Kelvin stood in the corner, trying to hide his face. His dad, who was painting the cafeteria walls, had delicately balanced himself on his extension ladder. Kelvin was ashamed of his dad’s profession. Along with Sam, he was one of the brightest kids in the class. He did not want anyone to think that he was less worthwhile because his dad was a painter. His dad was one of the three painters trying to change the look of the school’s dirty walls.
The Math class began after the break. Kelvin’s dad looked at him and smiled. Kelvin turned his face away. His dad sighed, turning back to work. He understood Kelvin’s thoughts and did not want to embarrass him in any way.
After an hour, Kelvin sat in the newly painted cafeteria. He was seated with his best friend, Jack, Sam and a few others. He nibbled his sandwich and saw his father from the corner of his eyes. He wondered when the work would be over. His father wiped the sweat with his sleeves and continued to paint the staff room from his high ladder. Kelvin suddenly felt uneasy. His dad had not eaten his lunch yet. He did not even finish his breakfast in the morning. Kelvin turned his attention to Jack, who was describing the previous day’s basketball match.
All of a sudden, they heard a loud crash and some cries. His dad had fallen, and his fellow painters gathered around him. Kelvin was unable to remain quiet any longer.
“Dad!” he cried, rushing to his father’s side.
“Dad?” Sam and Jack looked at each other.
His dad wiped the blood from the cut in his forehead.
“I am fine, boys. Let us continue. We are almost done,” he said to his fellow painters.
“I am OK, kid. You go on to your class.” He smiled at Kelvin.
“But, Dad, you are bleeding. Please go home or check with a doctor.”
“Don’t you want your school all new before the inspection? We just have some finishing work to do. You go on, Kelvin.”
Kelvin reluctantly returned to the cafeteria.
Jack asked, “Is he your dad?”
“Yes,” said Kelvin, a bit too loud. He did not care what the others thought anymore.
“He has done a brilliant job, Kelvin. Beige colour instead of the boring white in our classroom and a soothing yellow instead of the dull grey in the cafeteria,” said Sam, smiling.
“And isn’t he brave! You must be proud of him,” said Jack.
Kelvin slowly realized how wrong he had been all the time. His dad was a real hero who would brave all odds to get his task done.