Man who spent 21 years in prison surprises his teacher: ‘She was a shining light in that dark place’

In a touching video documenting their reunion, he said, ‘She never judged any of us.’

Teachers have a significant impact on our lives because they impart knowledge to us that lasts a lifetime. This is something that Michael Lacey wholeheartedly concurs with. Since Lacey spent 21 years of his life in prison, his life has not been easy. However, there was only one thing that helped him get through those trying times: the time he spent with Ms. Rice, his GED instructor.


A few years ago, Lacey visited his teacher unexpectedly and posted a touching video of their reunion on TikTok. He said in the video that he met his teacher’s roommate while working as a photographer, and the two of them came up with a surprise plan for her. As Lacey moves toward his teacher’s home in the opening moments of the clip, he says: “I just got to my favorite teacher’s house when I was doing my 21 years of prison, she is the bomb. She doesn’t know I’m coming. Let’s go surprise her.”


He is immediately recognized by Rice, who exclaims: “Mr.Lacey? Oh my God!” She then goes on to give him a tight hug, visibly shocked to have been able to meet her student again. The teacher gets emotional and asks him, “How are you doing?” before inviting him inside. The text in-lay on the video reads: “Seen her help more than 300 inmates get their GED. She never judged any of us. She was a shining light in that dark place.”

Their reunion moved the Tiktok community. “This makes my heart so happy.” Another user said, “I’m not crying, you’re crying so sweet.” A third commented: “No one has mentioned how incredible it is [that] she uses her talents to help so many people. Such a lovely video.”

Raymond Nelson, a student support specialist at a school in South Carolina, started a “Gentlemen’s Club” for fifth graders, according to another tale about a teacher who inspires many. Nelson helps them dress for success and imparts fundamental life lessons to them. He tries to act as a father figure for the community’s at-risk kids. According to Nelson, the club’s motto is: “Look good, feel good, do good. I was thinking maybe if I have the boys dress for success,” he told WCSC-TV. “When was the last time you saw someone fighting in a tuxedo?”

He is aware that many of these kids have no adult role models. Nelson said, I know a lot of them struggle because a lot of them don’t have men at home, so I just want them to grow up and think of the things that I teach them,” said Nelson. “They like the reaction of walking up to classrooms and say, ‘Oh, you look so nice and handsome,’ they just love it.” Nelson himself was helped by a group like this, which he joined at the request of his mother. “It helped me to be a better man and I could spread the knowledge to the young boys,” he said. “Gentleman’s club is not just teaching you how to be a gentleman. Love who you are and accept yourself for who you are and not let anybody get in the way of that,” one student shared.