HOUSTON – In a sweet video, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos surprised his Houston elementary school teacher with a message for her 80th birthday.
Celestine Barnes taught Bezos when he was in 4th grade at River Oaks Elementary School.
“Hi Mrs. Barnes, it’s Jeff Bezos. You were one of my favorite teachers back in elementary school. I remember you from 4th grade very well. You may not recognize me, I had more hair back then, but I sure remember you. You had a big impact on me,” Bezos said in the video. “I heard you were turning 80. That’s a big milestone! Congratulations and happy birthday. I learned a lot at River Oaks. You were definitely one of my favorite teachers. Thank you for making 4th grade so special for me and all the other kids too. I know you’ve spent more than 30 years as a teacher and principal. You’ve had a big impact on people’s lives. Great teachers do change lives. We were all incredibly lucky to have you. Happy birthday, Mrs. Barnes!”
Barnes’ daughter, Jenise Raven, had been on a mission to get the billionaire’s attention for weeks.
She told KHOU 11 News all she wanted was a birthday card from Bezos.
“I need [my mom] to know that she’s special, not only to me, but to all the people she touched throughout her journey,” said Raven.
Barnes’ 80th birthday celebration was held in Pearland Saturday afternoon. Several of the educator’s former students attended the party, where they played Bezos’ video.
“I’m so appreciative and so grateful and so humbled by this whole experience,” said Raven.
“I was thrilled. I see a lot of my students in different roles, former students. Jeff is one who has been really outstanding, and I’m pleased to see him,” said Barnes. “This has been fabulous. I didn’t know all this was going on. I’m amazed to no end. I’m truly thankful and grateful.”
Bezos also surprised the family by sending two Amazon Echo Shows.