“He’s My New Dad!” Man Returns from Business Trip and Sees His Son With Stranger – Story of the Day

Alex was a hard-working businessman with a wife and a son. His work kept him so busy that it began to affect his family. Alex finally got a wake-up call after his son invited him to meet his ‘new dad.’

Alex was a successful businessman, and his work required him to travel a lot. As he desperately rummaged through the crevices of the living room couch looking, his wife, Amanda, sat with their six-year-old son, Jack, at the table eating breakfast. Jack was barely eating, more preoccupied with a drawing he was working on.

“Honey, please don’t tell me you won’t be joining us for breakfast again,” Amanda exclaimed with worry.

“I’m sorry, love. I don’t have time. I could miss my flight… Have you seen my keys?” Alex asked, still rummaging.

“Daddy, look!” Jack said ecstatically, trying to show his father his drawing of the three of them as a family.

“Sorry, buddy,” Alex said, getting on one knee to meet his son’s gaze. “Unfortunately, I won’t be around for your birthday. But I promise to call and bring you back an amazing present,” Alex promised.
“Not now, my boy. Daddy’s busy,” Alex said. Jack put the picture on its face, disheartened by his father’s lack of enthusiasm or care.

“Your keys are here on the table, Alex,” Amanda said, dispirited.

Alex grabbed his travel bag and got his keys from the table. As he held his keys, Amanda tugged at his arm, saying, “Your son drew you a picture, Alex!”

Alex looked at his saddened son as he played with his food. Alex felt bad, suddenly grabbing the picture. “This is a beautiful picture, my boy! Is that Me?” Alex asked cheerfully.

“Mm-hmm!” the boy exclaimed, smiling again. “You, mom, and me! Do you like it?” he added.

“I love it!” Alex said, frisking his hair. “I’ll take it with me on my trip for good luck,” Alex said, packing the drawing in his bag.

“But you’ll be back in time for my birthday, right?” Jack asked with a hopeful glimmer in his gaze. Alex gave his wife a guilt-ridden look. She simply looked away, helpless.

“Sorry, buddy,” Alex said, getting on one knee to meet his son’s gaze. “Unfortunately, I won’t be around for your birthday. But I promise to call and bring you back an amazing present,” Alex promised.

“Pinky promise?” Jack said, holding out his pinky finger.

“Pinky promise,” Alex said, locking their pinkies and kissing him on the forehead. Alex then hugged and kissed his wife, bidding them both farewell before leaving.

Jack called his father the next day, but Alex said he didn’t have time to talk. He promised to call back later, but it continued up until Jack’s birthday.

On the day of Jack’s birthday, his mother threw him a pirate-themed birthday party. Jack loved pirates, particularly because of the fictional character Jack Sparrow.

He watched one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies when he was younger, and when he learned that he and the charismatic Jack Sparrow shared a name, he was instantly hooked. His parents decided it would be a fitting theme for his party.

The turnout was amazing. Jack’s school friends were there, bearing plenty of gifts. However, little Jack’s heart was still not at peace because the one person he would have loved to spend his birthday with was nowhere to be found. To make matters worse, Alex wasn’t answering any of Amanda’s calls.

“Who’s this Ryan you speak of? I’m the Crooked Captain Hook! And I have stolen your new saber. To get it back, you’ll have to follow this map.”
“Don’t worry, my boy. Your daddy’s just a little busy with work right now. I’m sure he’ll call soon, my boy,” Amanda assured a sad Jack.

A gloomy Jack sat in a pirate costume on the backyard porch as he watched everyone around him having the time of their lives. Every child there seemed to be enjoying the party more than the birthday boy. He had tried his best to enjoy his birthday, but things weren’t the same without his father.

His dad had bought Jack a very expensive, brand-new pirate saber that he had sent to Jack for his birthday. Disappointed, he had left it in the house, choosing to sit dejectedly on the porch.

As he sat there wallowing in despair, their 64-year-old family gardener watched from a distance as he worked on the yard and felt bad for the poor child. He thought of a way to cheer him up, then his gaze met with the saber inside the house, and it finally clicked.

A few moments later, Ryan approached Jack dressed as a bad rendition of Captain Hook. While it was something put together in the spur of the moment, it was convincing enough.

“Arrrgh! Ahoy there, Mateys! I’m looking for the birthday boy? Got some treasure for him,” Ryan said animatedly. Jack burst into roaring laughter at the old man’s pirate impression.

“Treasure? What do you mean, Ryan?” Jack asked, excited.

“Who’s this Ryan you speak of? I’m the Crooked Captain Hook! And I have stolen your new saber. To get it back, you’ll have to follow this map,” Ryan said, handing Jack a map.

“A treasure hunt!?” the boy exclaimed, over the moon.

“Yep! You better start now, or your saber is mine!” Ryan said with an animated evil laugh.

Jack immediately started on the treasure hunt. For the first time throughout the party, he was genuinely having fun and not obsessing over his father’s absence.

Thanks to the Crooked Captain Hook, what had started as Jack’s worst birthday celebration, had turned out to be the best yet. Alex finally called Amanda back later that evening, and she was not impressed, to say the least.

“I’m so sorry, Amanda. The conference took longer than expected, and I couldn’t leave. Please, I just want to wish him a happy birthday, Amanda,” Alex begged.

“You’re a little too late, Alex. He was worn out from the party. He waited for you all day. He’s asleep now.” Amanda said dejectedly.

“Oh, no,” a heartbroken Alex said. “Please tell me he at least enjoyed my gift,” Alex added.

“It was the least of his worries. I mean, it did help with the treasure hunt, but aside from that, I doubt it,” Amanda said before pausing to assess her thoughts.

“Look, Alex. I know you’re busy, and I appreciate the tireless hours you put in for our family. But your son really needed you today, and you let him down. I don’t know how you’ll make it up to him, but you need to figure it out… Goodbye, Alex,” Amanda concluded.

Some months passed, and Alex had to leave his family for another business trip. While on the trip, he noticed something strange. Jack didn’t call him as usual. And when Alex finally did get him on the phone, he sounded less enthusiastic than usual.

Troubled by the sudden change, Alex addressed it on one of their calls. “Jack, is everything okay? You seem a little low lately,” Alex asked.

“Yeah. Everything’s okay. I’m just in a hurry to play. Can we do this later?” Jack said nonchalantly.

Alex was taken aback and slightly hurt but tried his best to keep his cool. “Uhm…yeah, sure, my boy. I love you,” Alex said just as the line cut. His heart was shattered. He pulled out the picture Jack had drawn. He hadn’t looked at it since that day. As he gazed at it in admiration, he was suddenly overwhelmed by determination: he had to fight for his family.

The next day, Alex was determined to get his son’s attention back. He sent him an expensive gift but later found out that Jack didn’t even open it because he was playing outside and wasn’t interested. Alex called Amanda to explain her son’s recent behavior, but she simply told him it was all his fault.

It dawned on Alex that things weren’t well in his home. There was a growing rift between him and his son, and the pain and confusion were unbearable for Alex. He decided to cut his trip short and head back home.

As the taxi driver pulled over in front of his yard, Alex’s heart beamed at the sight of his little Jack running to him excitedly. Alex jumped out of the taxi with his luggage, ready to hug Jack, but he stopped in front of him and beckoned him to follow him, saying:

“Come! Let’s go. I’ll introduce you to my new father!”

Alex could not believe what he had just heard. His heart sank to his stomach as he thought of all the horrific implications and possible scenarios of what his son had just said to him.

“Amanda!” Alex yelled, rushing into the house in a huff. He headed straight to Amanda in the kitchen.

“Hey, honey! What brought you home so earl—” before Amanda could even finish her sentence, Alex was already tearing into her.

“My son just called me over to meet his father!! What’s happening around here, Amanda?!” Alex asked, fuming.

Amanda held her head with a sigh and then responded, “You misunderstood him, Alex.”

“Oh, really!? Did I? My son invites me to meet his supposed father, and I’m in the wrong?” an enraged Alex barked.

“Enough, Alex! And actually, yes. You know what? There’s actually some truth to it!” Amanda snapped back, reciprocating her husband’s energy. “Go outside and see for yourself!” Amanda said, turning her back on Alex and continuing in the kitchen.

Alex stormed off outside to find Ryan and Jack playing pirates outside. He was confused and couldn’t understand what he had just walked into. He walked back to Amanda, demanding answers.

“They’re playing a game, dummy!” Amanda said, rolling her eyes and her husband’s paranoia. “It’s some sort of scripted pirate game, and Ryan is Jack’s dad,” Amanda said.

“Oh,” Alex said with a relieved sigh.

“But if you remove the games and scripts… Truth is, during these weeks, Ryan really did replace you in Jack’s life…” Amanda said sadly before leaving to her room.

“Money can buy many things in this world. But there is one thing you can’t…
Her words triggered fear in Alex. Am I really losing my son to the gardener? Alex thought. He rushed after Amanda, unnerved by the whole situation.

“We need to fire him!” Alex said to his wife.

“Why would we do that?” Amanda asked, confused.

“Because…” Alex started, trying to conceptualize the perfect lie but coming up dry. “Uhm… He… His… He has outdated ideas on horticulture, and I’d like to get in a younger specialist,” Alex said.

“Horticulture?” Amanda asked with a side eye, not believing a word from her husband’s mouth.

“Yeah… Sure… Horticulture,” Alex said hesitantly.

“Listen, Alex. Ryan isn’t to blame for any of this. You are! All he did was be there for him when you couldn’t be,” Amanda concluded.

Alex was still determined to fire Ryan. He wasn’t about to have some old man playing pretend father with his child. And most importantly, he was not about to lose his child. Alex stormed outside and called Ryan.

“Look, Ryan, I know you’ve been with us for a while now, and we appreciate all you’ve done for us. But I’m afraid we’ll have to let you go,” Alex explained, failing to meet Ryan’s gaze because of his underlying guilt.

“Oh, okay. May I speak, sir?” Ryan asked, respectfully taking off his hat.

“Uhm… Sure,” Alex replied.

“Money can buy many things in this world. But there is one thing you can’t: time. You gave your son a saber that you bought with money. And I gave him the time I spent with him. What did he appreciated more?”

Alex said nothing, speechless as Ryan continued to share his wisdom with him. “Your wife has known you longer than your son. She has a greater credit of trust in you. But it will also end, and you will simply be left alone. But then I won’t be here anymore, and you won’t be able to blame me. Goodbye, Alex,” Ryan concluded.

Ryan packed his things and was about to leave before Alex stopped him and apologized. “I’m sorry, Ryan. You did nothing wrong. You were just looking out for my son. And I thank you for not only that but your words of wisdom,” Alex said, holding his hand for a handshake. Ryan shook his hand with a kind smile, saying, “Apology accepted, sir.”

The next day, Alex took the day off. He stayed at home with his son. He saw Jack playing soccer with Ryan in the backyard and desperately wanted to join in. However, he had no how idea how. It had been so long since he had played any type of game.

So, instead, he opened a bottle of beer and sat by the pool, watching them, when suddenly the ball rolled under his feet.

“Kick it, dad!” yelled Jack.

Alex kicked the ball as hard as he could and it flew over the fence. “Wow! Dad, how can you kick like that? Teach me!” shouted Jack.

Ryan smiled and said, “I’ll leave you two to it. I have work to do.”

As Ryan left, Alex immediately called his business partner. “Peter, you’ll run the business for me for the next two weeks. I am taking leave effective immediately. I need to teach my son how to play ball,” he said, looking at Jack.

“Yay!!” Jack cried, hugging his father warmly.

From that day on, Alex prioritized spending time with his family and stopped taking them for granted. His relationship with both his wife and son improved drastically. And in the end, he and Ryan became good friends, with Ryan continuing to provide him wise guidance.

What can we learn from this story?

Time is more valuable than money. Alex thought he could win his son’s heart with gifts, but all he wanted was some time with his father.
Prioritize what really matters in your life. With Ryan’s assistance, Alex was lucky to learn to prioritize what was truly valuable in his life before he lost it. With Ryan’s help and his wife’s guidance, he found his path to restoring his relationship with his son.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

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