Unexpected Valentine

Now isn’t this sweet?

Eighty-two-year-old Carol Marx walked into Bixby’s Café in Duluth around lunchtime Thursday — Valentine’s Day — with a smile on her face and left with an even bigger one.

The widowed and retired kindergarten teacher immediately noticed a table of nine college-age students smiling back at her upon her arrival — which made her curious. Maybe some of them were her former students from St. John’s, where she retired from in 1998 after 24 years at the school where she now volunteers.

“Do you know me?” Marx said.

“No,” they said.

“And I don’t know you either,” she said. “But I sure like the smiles you gave me.”

Marx found out the seven young women and two young men were special-education majors at the University of Minnesota Duluth. After a brief conversation, Marx moved on to the counter and ordered her meal. Not long after Marx sat down, one of the girls from the table of nine stopped over with a chocolate-covered strawberry for Marx.

“That’s my favorite,” she said, “and I haven’t had one for a long time.”

A bit later, one of the students got up and left only to return shortly after with a dozen red roses he presented to Marx.

“It brings tears to my eyes,” Marx said Friday, recalling the event as she gazed at her 12 red reminders. “Those students need to be praised; they were so nice.”

Nice work, kids. Keep it up.