On the first day of school, Danza asked each student to write about a personal experience they'd had. One student named Al never turned in the assignment – something that Danza mentioned to Al's mother at a parent-teacher conference. The day after the conference, Al came in with the assignment. He had written a story about playing a game of basketball with other teenagers in his neighborhood. One of the members of the losing team left and came back with a gun and was threatening the winners. Another player also pulled a gun. Al crawled to safety and ran. "My reality as a kid was a tough neighborhood, but nobody was getting shot at," Danza wrote. "The gap between my life and Al's widens even further. Maybe stories like this are what his mother meant when she said he has a lot going on. I remember now that when I called to request the conference, her first words were 'Is he okay?'"