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Retiring school worker gets surprise 'payback' from students

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Every year, teachers and school workers retire. But this year, when the attendance clerk at Booker T. Washington announced her retirement after 36 years, her former students wanted to pay her back for all she had done in 36 years of service.

Edwina Taylor says she has been a mother, a friend and a bank teller to students. She says she has heard some of the most memorable excuses for students being tardy.

“The cows got out and her mom called and said, ‘Ms. Taylor, we are gonna be late because I have to go rustle up the cows'," said Taylor.

But that wasn’t the only one that stands out in her memory.

“The granddaughter was helping the grandmother find her teeth. My parents grandparents don’t have any qualms about what they tell me,” said Taylor, who graduated from Booker T. herself in 1969.

Taylor says she was used to students asking for food, advice and money.

“They need $1 here. They may need $5, but if I give you $10 you have to pay me back,” she laughed.

Taylor never had children of her own and says all of the years proved to her that what goes around comes around. But nothing prepared her for the surprise that came from her friends and her students Friday.

“Surprise!” they all yelled in the cafeteria after her day of work.

“That’s more than an attendance lady, more than an educator. That’s a mom and you want to give back. I was just so moved to give back,” said Dominic Durant, who organized a social media campaign to raise money to buy Taylor a car.

The mission fell short but the group did present her an over-sized check for $9,140. It brought tears to her eyes as Taylor kept exclaiming, “Oh my God! Oh my God!”

It wasn’t enough for a car, but it was more than she ever expected.

“God loves me,” she said, holding the check.

Her last day is June 13. Taylor says she will use the money to help buy a new car.

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