Isn't it great, the wonders that a simple card and small gift can do for our spirits?
My mom taught kindergarten, and occasionally had the same thing happen.
My experience has always been, that the "people who care" are many many many. But it's only rarely that someone will overcome their internal hesitations, and show it.
This points to another aspect of a repressive society: repression of our instincts toward community & solidarity. Why aren't simple cards, thanks, appreciations, the norm -- instead of the exception? --Larry C.