Zenia Kim, a freshman at George Washington University, was going through a hard time both financially and mentally when she was unexpectedly touched by the kindness of her professor.
Affected by the pandemic among other things, Kim had recently attempted to commit suicide, and she had eventually stopped attending classes.
The 18-year-old was also forced out of her house due to family issues and she started working as a server to support herself.
Dr. Lynn Matheny, an adjunct instructor at the university, kept emailing Kim about her missing assignments for the past few weeks. Then her emails became more frequent, asking her for updates multiple times a day, according to Kim, who spoke to ABC7.
“And then she would also add, ‘Please just get back to me, I don’t even care if it’s about your work or grades, I just care about your safety,’” said Kim.
so my professor reached out to me few times before to check on me because i haven’t been attending classes since i dropped out this fall semester and look what she said and did 🥺❤️ pic.twitter.com/rBwCu3wRr6
— z†𖤐 (@fucksomewhatzen) December 22, 2020
After leaving the professor’s emails unanswered for a while, Kim eventually replied to Matheny, telling about her problems.
“I’m so sorry to learn of your difficult, difficult fall. But it is a testament to your strength that you have found a way to find temporary housing as well as a job,” Matheny wrote in response. “Rather than looking back and feeling guilt or shame, look ahead and be proud that you are demonstrating great courage and managing to put one foot in front of the next, even with so much uncertainty ahead.”
At the end of her email, Matheny asked for her Venmo account information. The professor then sent her $1,000 to cover her rent, with the message “One day you will pay this forward.”
Kim shared her story over her Twitter account, with her post going viral, receiving more than 20,000 retweets and nearly 270,000 likes.