Al Siedlecki (right)—or “Mr. Sie,” as his students call him—has been teaching science at Medford Memorial Middle School in New Jersey for more than three decades.

But a few years back, as Sie was helping a group of students study for a test, something happened that in all his years of teaching had never happened before: he received an urgent phone call from a neurosurgeon.

As it turns out, the doctor on the phone was Lee Buono (left), who was one of Sie’s students back in the 1980s. Today, he’s a neurosurgeon. At StoryCorps, Lee and Al sat down to tell the rest of their story.

Originally aired September 25, 2011, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.