(WICHITA, Kan) — On the first day of fifth grade, Tim Aben visits his granddaughter, 10-year-old Cherokee at school.
There's time to look over her math assignment, but he has many more grandchildren to visit.
"I have approximately 460 grandkids, and I love each one of them," he said with a smile.
Aben is Stanley Elementary's adopted grandfather, Grandpa Tim, as he likes to be called.
"He just has that grandpa-ness to him," said Amy Owens, a second grade teacher. "He loves them dearly."
A volunteer three days a week, Grandpa Tim has become part of this school family, so much that it's hard to know if he's one of the kids or one of the staff.
Cherokee invited her grandpa to school three years ago for a field trip, but he remembers one moment when he realized he would be back again. It was a moment with a little girl he'd just met.
"She told me that when we get back to school, when we go inside and you get in your car to go home, just remember I will always love you," he said.
From then on, he's secretly relished those quiet moments with the students, like the days after a classmate passed away.
"Three girls said they didn't want to talk to a teacher, they wanted to talk to me. So we went to the playground during recess and talked and had a good cry. It was good," he said.
He's become more than the man who brings snacks every week...
"He says the only gifts he wants is hugs and love," said Cherokee.
Now Grandpa Tim can't imagine not coming back to school.
"I told them I'm going to come until I am in an urn and can't drive anymore," he said. "Then I had to explain what an urn was."