Slay It Forward

A Connecticut school teacher is being hailed a hero after taking on the care of the newborn baby brother of one of her students, after his entire family tested positive to coronavirus.
Luciana Lira, 32, is a teacher at Hart Magnet Elementary in Stamford, where her students include a seven-year-old Guatemalan asylum seeker named Junior.

On April 4, Luciana received a call from Junior’s mother, Zully, who explained that she had tested positive to COVID-19 and was going into labor.

Zully told Luciana that she and her husband had no one else in the United States to help them out, and had listed her as their emergency contact.

Luciana quickly called Zully’s husband, Marvin, who explained that both he and Junior believed that they had also come down with the coronavirus and were awaiting test results.

Marvin told Luciana that he was worried that he might potentially infect his newborn, and asked her a stunning question: Would she take care of the baby until he received test results that cleared him of COVID-19?

Luciana made a spur-of-the moment decision and selflessly said yes.

Doctors performed an emergency C-section on Zully, delivering her a baby boy named Neysel.

But while the newborn was healthy, Zully was gravely ill with the coronavirus and was quickly placed onto a ventilator.

Luciana, meanwhile, became a temporary guardian and took baby Neysel home to her husband, Alex.

Less than a week later, test results returned showing that Marvin and young Junior had both tested positive for COVID-19, meaning that Luciana would be tasked with caring for baby Neysel longer than anticipated.

However, the selfless teacher was up to the task – stepping in to become an instant mom while simultaneously continuing to teach her elementary school students remotely.

Miraculously, on April 18, Zully was taken off the ventilator after her condition improved.

Two days later, she was finally able to be introduced to her newborn baby boy via a Zoom video call.

Heartwarming snaps taken during the occasion show Luciana holding up Neysel as he appears to wave at his mom who is on the screen.

Zully was seen smiling back as she sat staring at her phone from her hospital bed.

On April 24, Zully was released from the hospital and was allowed to return home.

She was escorted back to her residence via ambulance, where she was reunited with her husband, Marvin, and older son, Junior.

The trio are all still suffering from coronavirus, and will have to wait to be cleared of the virus until they can finally meet little Neysel in person for the very first time.

Luciana says she is willing to look after the newborn until his family are fit and healthy again.

The selfless teacher has won praise from friends and strangers alike.

One old associate paid tribute to Luciana on Facebook, writing: ‘This pandemic is not what any of us imagined…but this unselfish act reminds us that our humanity makes us all essential. How will each of us respond when we are asked to simply show up and help?’


Hey SLAYER! I’ve started a new series of posts called SLAY IT FORWARD. Each post is a submission from you of an act of kindness you have received or have witnessed that has inspired you. Let’s remind each other what’s important during this time and spread kindness… SLAY IT FORWARD.

To submit your own SLAY IT FORWARD story email me at

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