Pop idol Michael Jackson's surprise visit to an elementary school still scarred by a deranged gunman's murderous rampage was so thrilling that one child couldn't even remember her last name.
"It was kind of neat to see after what the school has experienced," said Ron Teague, 36, who helped organize the Cleveland Elementary School pupils for Jackson's lightning visit on Tuesday. "The children were just ecstatic; they treated him like a brother.""I think they'll remember this for a long time," said Stockton Unified School District spokesman John Klose.
Jackson also dropped in at San Joaquin General Hospital, where two youngsters were still being treated. The two were among 30 wounded on Jan. 17, when 26-year-old Patrick Edward Purdy returned to his old elementary school and opened fire on the school yard with an assault rifle, killing five children before committing suicide.
At the hospital, Jackson, wearing a dark military-style jacket with red epaulets but without his trademark glittering glove, spent a few minutes with Vann Sa, 7, and Long Keo, 6.
"It was not what I would call a dialogue," said hospital spokeswoman Sharon Booker. "But five to seven minutes with Michael Jackson - what can you compare it to?"
Jackson visited classrooms where kindergarten, first, second and third grade pupils were gathered, then stopped at an assembly of fourth through sixth graders. No reporters or photographers were allowed to watch as Jackson met with the children.