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'Good Omens' fans, author Neil Gaiman help students in need

The kids at a juvenile detention center fell in love with the story, but their teacher couldn't afford the books. Then author Neil Gaiman read her tweet.
/ Source: TODAY

When Twitter user Trina hit a rough patch and experienced depression years ago, she discovered the book “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and it transformed her life. The teacher at a juvenile detention center thought of the book as she watched her students struggling this year. During the last week of school she showed them the “Good Omens” TV adaptation and they, too, felt moved by the story of a demon and an angel who somehow save the world together. She wanted them to read the book, but she couldn't afford books for 60 students. So she suggested sending a tweet, tagging Gaiman and seeing if anyone could donate.

“Finally someone else was caring about my kids like I do.”

What happened was better than any fiction: Gaiman shared her tweet with his followers and soon dozens of strangers stepped up to help, showing the teens that they were not alone.

“We sent a tweet never expecting for it to be seen but it was! By so many people, including Neil. The story spread and soon I was in touch with complete strangers, all of whom cared about my kids and wanted to help them,” Trina shared in a note on Twitter.

Michael Sheen and David Tennant in the Amazon Original series "Good Omens," which inspired students in a juvenile detention center, and then inspired a wave of kindness by author Neil Gaiman and dozens of strangers. Amazon

People from all over the country donated items to the classroom’s Amazon Wishlist, including books, art supplies, games and general classroom equipment like sticky notes and calculators. Trina felt thrilled by the donations, and she feels even better about what her students learned.

“Finally someone else was caring about my kids like I do,” she wrote. “The system is against them. So much so that they cannot believe in themselves. I try and do it for them, and now I had thousands of strangers on twitter believing in them, too.”

The past school year was difficult, said Trina, who asked that she not be identified by full name to protect the privacy of her students and declined to comment further on her Twitter story. Three former students died due to gang violence after being released from the center. Her students felt lost and scared, she said. The outpouring of support has helped them, just like “Good Omens” helped Trina all those years ago.

“I was lucky enough to find this book at one of my lowest points. To put it bluntly, it saved me,” she said. “I thought to end the school year they needed something fun, something to give them hope. I choose to show them ‘Good Omens.’ The result was amazing. All these hard kids fell in love with the show, they could not get enough.”

Trina shared in later tweets how much everyone’s generosity meant to her.

“What you all did for my students was amazing and will never be forgotten.”

And her students also shared their thoughts, via her Twitter account.

“I have never had kindness done to me like this, I didn’t know people were able to do something this nice,” one student shared.

Another said the supplies would help them create a comic book — perhaps taking after Gaiman, the award-winning author of "American Gods," "Coraline," "Stardust" and many more, who started his career writing graphic novels.

“I’m so excited to read all the books, play the new games, and use the new art supplies," the student said. "I am trying to draw my own comic book and these things will be so helpful!”

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