The Story of Richard Julien
Richard Julien was a History teacher aged 47. He had worked at a highschool in Minnesota for the last two years.
He was well-liked and appreciated by the rest of the staff and by his students, but he was known to also be a man of strange habits. One day, those habits would raise suspicions among his peers.
He Was A Reserved Guy
He was a bit of a reclusive man who had never invited any of his colleagues to his place. Also, he rarely talked about his personal life.
Some said he had a strange aura around him; one that made him come across as someone different to everyone else. Some would even say that his aura was uncanny. But were they justified in saying so?
What Was It About Him?
The truth is that nothing seemed to support those suspicions at face value. Talking to Julien, he came across as a nice, mild-mannered guy, although he always seemed a bit distant and impersonal.
Maybe his politeness and discretion made some people think that this was some kind of front. Maybe he was hiding something behind his behavior.
Was He Hiding Something?
However, as it’s been said before, everything about him seemed irreproachable. He was never late to work, his students consistently passed and were motivated about his subject, he never had a problem with any member of the staff.
Of course, it’s hard to have any issue with a man who mainly keeps to himself and walks around trying to be unnoticed, like Julien did. But perhaps that was just a deliberate act.
What Was He Up To?
After a while of knowing Julien, the thought that he might be trying to keep something secret was something that naturally popped into one’s head.
The man was absolutely private and agreeable, and he seemed to be deliberately trying to be as easy-going as possible at work. He conducted himself with such perfect discreteness that one could only think that it was a voluntary and calculated move.
He Was Never Caught
But Julien was never caught in anything suspicious. He had been working in the same highschool for seven years and no one had anything on him.
But one day, something happened that would change everything.
A Snowy Winter
It was a heavy winter that year in Minnesota. For most of February, snow was covering the roads fairly often. Some days were worse than others, but school was still open.
And, of course, Julien was still giving his classes. But his behavior started to change.
He Was Getting Out Late
Everyday, he started staying around the school after the day was finished. The explanation he gave was that he wanted to grade some exams and would rather do it at his workplace than at home. At first, that didn’t seem like anything too weird.
But it was a change in the habits of an otherwise very structured and organized person. That alone was enough to make some of the members of the staff iffy.
Why Did He Change His Habits?
Soon, the principal became aware that he stayed there even after the maintenance staff had left, which was very late in the evening.
Now that did sound a little weird and suspicious. Which is why the principal decided to install a camera in Julien’s classroom to see what was going on. When he took a look at the tapes, what he saw was puzzling.
He Was Spending The Night There!
Richard Julien was staying in his classroom all day. He would sleep there after the maintenance staff was gone and then, early in the morning, he would go to the gym’s locker rooms to take a shower and shave.
The History teacher had just started to live in the school 24 hours a day. But what could be the reasons for this?
Students Step In
By the time the principal had set up the camera, some of Julien’s students were already suspecting something as well. They had noticed Julien staying in the classroom until late and were also wondering why.
One day in March, when the weather was getting a little bit better, they noticed Julian had started leaving the workplace after class, just like before. And they decided to follow him. What they saw then was astonishing.
He Was Living In A Van
After his shift, Richard Julien didn’t go to his house. Instead, he went to a van. The students waited in the cold to see what Julien was doing inside the van, but their teacher wasn’t coming out.
They decided to get closer and look through the windows. At that moment, Julien saw them and came out.
At That Moment Julien Knew He Had Been Exposed
Julien was surprised and asked them what they were doing there. When he noticed the kids weren’t able to articulate an answer, he knew it: they had followed him and were curious about what he was up to.
At that point, Julien broke down and told them his story.
He Was A Gambler
He had been living in that van for months now. He had lost his house. Behind his peaceful character and his mild manners, Julien had a crippling gambling habit that had turned his life into hell.
He had a lot of debts, was absolutely bankrupt and he had to rent that van to live in. But during the winter, it was too cold. On top of that, the roads were too covered in snow to drive the van to work. That’s why he had been spending the nights at school. The van wasn’t even his; he felt like his job and his classroom were all he truly had.
The School Helped Julien Out
The students told the principal about it and he decided to take some measures. He raised Julien’s salary and loaned him some money to pay his debts and enable him to get back on his feet.
Also, Julien’s students joined to collect some money from their own pockets in order to help their teacher out. They gifted him $1,200 in the middle of a class. Teary-eyed, the teacher embraced all his students and thanked them for their gesture.