Jim O’Connor might be a strict maths teacher, with a past that includes serving in Vietnam, but there’s far more to him than meets the eye.
Known to his High School students for his no-nonsense approach to teaching, and an authoritative voice garnered from his years in the military, it turns out Jim has a rather unlikely moniker … one used strictly in evenings and on weekends.
After becoming a blood donor due to his rare O negative blood type, Jim began to wonder what could be done to improve the lives of sick babies and children.
He decided to take action, and thus a nickname was born. When his students found out what it was, they struggled to believe it.
Say the name Jim O’Connor to any of the students at St. Francis High School, California, and they’ll tell you about a strict maths man who teaches algebra and calculus. A Vietnam vet, sporting a military-style haircut and owning a studious pair of eyes, he wields an authoritative tone to bring the kids in his classroom firmly into line.
Marshalling 32 teenage boys isn’t anyone’s idea of an easy task, but they know all to well not to play up when Jim is at the helm. He’s known for his “no bull” handling of mischief – not the sort of teacher you want to mess with.
That’s perhaps why his students were so shocked to find out about his nickname; the one he uses when he’s not on school grounds. Hard though it is to believe, Jim accepts the moniker of ‘baby whisperer’ in the evenings and on weekends.
Why, you ask? Well, because for the past 20 years Jim has committed several days a week to cuddling ill infants, as part of his role as a TLC Volunteer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
After being drawn to a hospital to participate in a blood drive – one his friend convinced him to join – Jim began to regularly give blood for the betterment of others. Since he has type O negative blood (highly sought after due to its rarity), he feels it’s only right to do what must be done. In actual fact, he quickly emerged as the hospital’s top donor; he’s thus far shared more than 72 gallons.
But Jim’s compassion and willingness to take that extra step doesn’t end there. Far from it, in fact. During his visits to the hospital, he began to take note of the sick children and babies. Feeling as though he wanted to help, he asked after how he might be of further use.
As it turns out, Jim’s talents aren’t confined to simply presiding over classrooms and giving blood. Despite being a life-long bachelor, he also happens to have an exceptional knack for cradling babies.
That’s right, the former army man is a dab hand when it comes to walking, feeding, rocking and caring for struggling children. Nurse Sherry Nolan, clinical manager of the medical unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told TODAY Moms:
“He holds them, feeds them, walks around with them, gets to know them and he can always coax a smile out of them.
“They just stare at him adoringly and he can really just get the crabbiest baby to calm down. It’s amazing… He’s just a natural-born cuddler.”
You can watch the man in action in the video below. Why not see for yourself how the ‘baby cuddler’ came to be. What a guy. *Wipes tear from cheek.
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