Bob Athayde is the most famous person in the town of Lafayette.
He's the music director of Stanley Middle School, where he's been teaching for 34 years. His love for music is infectious, and every kid wants to take his class, even if they have never picked up a musical instrument before.
As a result, more than a quarter of the student body is involved in a band. Many, including Bob's musically gifted children, have become professional musicians. He's won countless awards and says of his students, "If a kid can be sparked, then I'm going to find a way to spark him."
So why was this man mowing my lawn over Memorial Day weekend? Because my 25-year-old son Matthew, who has autism, asked him to.
I first met Bob when Matthew was a student at Stanley. Like every mother in Lafayette, I wanted my son to be involved in the music program, but he was a challenge to teach. I stopped by the band room nervously one afternoon and asked the legendary teacher if we could make something work.