A kindly boy buys food for his favorite teacher’s hungry kid. He never imagines that as a result of his selfless act, his life will be transformed.
Zach pressed his hands over his hot eyes. Why did everything make so much sense when Mr. Porter explained it to him? The truth is that Zach was just too tired.
He’d arrived home, cleaned the house, made dinner for his mom, made sure she took her meds, and now he was finally doing his homework. After a while, Zach put his books away. It was no good, the letters danced in front of his eyes.
He knew that on Monday, Mr. Porter would be disappointed once again when he saw the test results. Zach was a poor student. He knew it, and there was nothing he could do about it.
His dad passed away seven years ago when he was just four years old. His mom had been devastated, but she’d rallied. She’d sold their house, and they’d moved to a more modest home.
Zach and his mom had settled into their new reality, but one day, something terrible happened. Zach’s mom was diagnosed with a degenerative condition.
Even when we are struggling, we need to find compassion in our hearts for others.
Little by little, her physical condition deteriorated, and there was nothing doctors could do. There were new, revolutionary treatments in Europe, but they couldn’t afford them.
As Zach’s mom became more limited by her condition, it was the 11-year-old who had to take over running the household. He went shopping for groceries and paid the bills. He even learned how to cook. Zach took care of his mom, just as his mother had once taken care of him.
On Saturday morning, Zach headed for the mall to accomplish the week’s shopping. He bought what they needed and decided to stop by the food court for a snack.
He joined the line at a popular hotdog stand and was delighted to recognize Mr. Parker ahead of him, with a little boy, around 4 years old. The boy was complaining and tugging at Mr. Parker’s jacket, telling him he was hungry.
“Hey, Mr. Parker!” Zach said. “How are you?”
Mr. Parker turned around and smiled. “Hello, Zach! Ready for the big quiz on Monday?”
Zach shrugged. “I don’t know, Mr. Parker,” he said. “When you explain it in class it makes sense, but then when I look at the books, everything just… disappears.”
“Don’t give up, Zach,” Mr. Parker said kindly. “You’ll get there, I know it!” At that moment, Mr. Parker reached the end of the line, and he ordered a hotdog for his son.
“That will be $5.95,” the server said.
Mr. Parker nodded and reached into his pocket. Then he frowned and put his hand in his other pocket. “Oh!” he said. “I’m sorry, I think I left my wallet at home!”
The server shrugged, and Mr. Parker said to his son: “I’m sorry, Davy, I’ll get you a hotdog next time.”
The boy started crying. “But I’m HUNGRY now, daddy!” he howled. “I want a hotdog NOW!”
“Please, Davy,” Mr. Parker said nervously. “Please, Daddy hasn’t got any money right now…”
Zach had never seen Mr. Parker look so helpless, and he decided to take action. He took his money out and slapped it on the counter. “I’ll pay for the boy’s hotdog,” he told the server.
He took the hotdog and handed it to Davy who was still crying bitterly. “Here you go,” he said. “These are my favorites too!”
Davy stopped crying immediately, and with a mouth full of hotdog, he couldn’t complain either. Mr. Parker looked at Zach with gratitude in his eyes.
“Thank you, Zach,” he said softly. “I know Davy seems a little spoiled, but he’s… My wife passed away just three months ago. We’re both struggling with it.”
“I didn’t know,” Zach said. “But you’ve been helping me after school!”
“I want to help you, Zach,” Mr. Parker said. “And I think something is holding you back. What’s wrong, Zach?”
So Zach poured out his story, about his mother’s illness, and the treatment in Europe that they couldn’t afford. And they both ended up shedding a tear or two.
“Life can be difficult, Zach,” Mr. Porter said. “But when we help each other, we make it easier. Thank you for helping me today.”
“That’s OK!” Zach said, smiling. “Always glad to help!”
“Aren’t you going to get yourself a hotdog?” Mr. Parker asked.
Zach was embarrassed. “Well, I only had enough money for one,” he explained. “But I think Davy needed it more than I did, him being so little and all!”
Mr. Parker and Zack went their own ways, and at school, things were just the same. Neither of them said a word about their conversation.
Then one day, something extraordinary happened. A big car pulled up in front of Zach’s house, and Mr. Parker and the school principal stepped out.
They sat in the lounge and explained everything to Zach and his mom. “After your kindness to me, Zach,” Mr. Parker said. “I spoke to the school principal, and we started a GoFundMe page.
“We’ve raised the money for your mother’s treatment in Europe, Zach. More than enough to take care of you both until your mom is back on your feet!”
Zach turned to his mom, and he threw his arms around her. He started sobbing. “Mom, you’re going to be OK, You’re going to walk again, mom!”
Mr. Parker and the school principal smiled, with tears in their eyes. Then Mr. Parker cleared his throat. “Well, Zach, I’ll be expecting you for extra lessons three times a week. We have to get those grades up!”
“Yes, Mr. Parker,” Zach said, smiling. “I’ll make it, sir!” And he did. His mom returned from Europe with her health much improved, and Zach’s grades were brilliant.
What can we learn from this story?
Even when we are struggling, we need to find compassion in our hearts for others. Even though Zach’s life was hard, he still did his best to help Davy, and he reaped the reward.
Always do your best, and good things will come your way. Zach never gave up. He helped his mom and studied as best as he could.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.