81-year-old Faith shed tears of joy when her little neighbor boy visits her in the nursing home. She was over the moon but knew little about meeting 100 strangers who would make her cry even more the next day.
True friendship does not have any age restrictions. They say friends come in different shapes and sizes, which couldn’t be more true in eight-year-old Johnny and 81-year-old Faith’s case.
They were neighbors who would never start their day without greeting each other with flying kisses from window to window or tasting Faith’s signature sweet potato pie.
While all was well, Johnny witnessed true heartache one day when his favorite grandma’s house was locked, and she went missing all of a sudden…
“Mom, where is granny Faith? It’s been so long, and she has not yet come out of her house,” he whined to his mother, Celine.
Johnny kept staring outside his window at Faith’s house, which was just a few yards away. He hoped she was just playing hide-and-seek with him. He restlessly waited for her to open her bedroom window and surprise him.
“She hasn’t brought me my sweet potato pie, mommy. Where is she? It’s time to watch our cartoons together. Why has she not come out yet?”
Faith was waiting for Johnny in her room with his favorite candies…But what she saw next made her cry inconsolably.
Celine knew where Faith was, but she could not bring herself to tell her son the truth. She knew it would hurt him terribly.
“Why aren’t you answering me? I want to see granny Faith. Please take me to her. Why is her house locked?”
Mustering her courage, Celine disclosed the truth as she could no longer calm Johnny down.
“Sweetheart, granny Faith does not live there anymore. She won’t be coming home either,” she said, weighing the disappointment in Johnny’s eyes.
“What do you mean she does not live there? And where has she gone? Why is she not coming here? I promise I’ll not argue with her about the TV remote. I’ll let her watch her TV series.”
Celine did not know how to make her son understand. She had no choice but to break open the saddening truth.
“Son, granny Faith won’t be coming back here ever. She has gone to live in the nursing home with all the other older people. Since she has nobody to take care of her, she has been sent there.”
Johnny’s eyes gleamed with tears. “What? Will granny Faith not be coming here? And who said she has nobody to take care of her? Why can’t we do that? Mommy, please take me to her. I want to see her immediately!” He could not hold back his tears and threw a tantrum to visit Faith somehow.
That afternoon, Faith was sitting by the window in her room, staring at the broad daylight outside. Suddenly, the door creaked open, and she saw a silhouette of a little boy with a woman at the doorstep.
“Who’s there?” she said, her faint voice echoing across the near-empty bedroom. Faith held her palm above her eyes to see through the light. Just then, Johnny and Celine approached her with a box of homemade sweet potato pie.
“Johnny?! Celine?! Oh, I’m so happy to see you two. What brings you here?” Faith cried, throwing herself in Johnny’s arms. She and the boy remained speechless for a few minutes, latched onto each other’s arms while shedding tears of joy and pain.
“Granny, why did you leave me and go? And why is mom telling me you have nobody to take care of you?”
Faith did not know how to answer Johnny’s questions. She smiled, wiped away her tears, and made him sit on her lap. “Sweetheart, I am very old now and cannot live alone. So, I have to live here with people who are of my age.”
“And why did you not tell me before coming here?”
“Darling, I did not tell you because I knew you would be hurt, and I did not want to hurt my little angel.”
Johnny looked around in amazement. He did not understand why so many older adults had to live under the same roof away from their families. So, he devised an idea to make them feel at home and returned with a tear-jerking surprise the next day.
It was around the same time the following day. Faith anticipated she would meet Johnny because he had promised he would revisit her.
Faith was waiting for Johnny in her room with his favorite candies. Moments later, the door opened, startling her. But what she saw next made her cry inconsolably.
“Grandma! Meet my friends,” said Johnny, and behind him stood around 100 boys, girls, and their parents waving at her, each holding a flower.
It turned out that Johnny did not want Faith to feel lonely. Moreover, he was hurt to see so many older people in the nursing home and thought they, too, needed someone to love and spend time with. So he teamed up with his classmates, who, together with their parents, had come to make all the older residents feel special and loved.
Faith cried like a child that day. She was so moved and could not thank Johnny enough for proving that love and compassion still exist.
From that day onward, Johnny and his friends frequented the rest home. They played board games with the elderly residents and, in return, were treated with candies. As for Johnny, he loved spending time with granny Faith, and the two often made delicious sweet potato pie together.
What can we learn from this story?
A little act of kindness goes a long way. When Johnny met Faith and learned about her loneliness, he visited her the next day with all his friends. Besides comforting Faith, he also wanted to make all the other elderly residents feel loved and cared for.
Teach your children to love and respect older people. Johnny was only eight years old, but even at this young age, he knew how to respect and value older people.