A businessman travels to a village to make a deal with a local farmer and comes across a puppy whining near a remote well there. In his effort to save the poor animal, the man will soon chance upon something that’ll change his life forever.
“Hey, hi, bud. I’m sorry I’m not there with you right now. Happy birthday.”
“Thanks, Dad. Are you coming home later for the party?”
“Um, well, something’s come up, buddy. I might not be able to make it, but I’ll have Rose get you the best cake. Just tell her what you need, OK? Sorry about that, buddy. I really wanted to be there, but you know how work is right now… it’s hectic.”
The call went silent. “Hey, Adam. You there? I’ll try to make time, OK? Hello?”
Jaden removed the phone from his ear and realized the call was disconnected. Adam had hung up.
Jaden let out a sigh. “I’m sorry, bud. This is something I’m doing for you.”
Millionaire businessman Jaden was many things, but he wasn’t a good dad, according to his son.
After Jaden’s wife divorced him, things were hard for the man. He was struggling to cope with parenting, and his business was turning him into a workaholic with each passing day.
Jaden owned a million-dollar farm business, and he was planning on expanding it. For that very reason, he was several miles away from his son, traveling to a village. He’d been so preoccupied with work that he’d forgotten Adam’s birthday.
When he passed by a bakery, it suddenly hit him that he’d made an awful mistake.
He pulled the car near the curb and dialed his son immediately. But clearly, the call didn’t go well.
Like several other times, Adam was disappointed that Jaden wasn’t there for him. When Adam was a child, Jaden could easily ask him for forgiveness by getting him toys, chocolates, and anything the boy loved.
But as an 11-year-old, Adam had started comprehending things. He was becoming curious and knew his dad was putting work before him. That hurt the youngster in many ways, and since Jaden wasn’t always there for Adam, the boy was being looked after by his nanny, Rose.
As Jaden clutched the steering wheel, placing his phone aside, a pang of guilt made his stomach churn. He should have been there for Adam. He knew he could do better. But Jaden didn’t turn the car around to head home. Instead, he kept driving to his destination.
A couple of hours later, the GPS started messing up. Jaden couldn’t figure out the route and regretted not bringing his driver.
“I’ll drive myself. I don’t think I can wait any longer,” the businessman had reasoned as he left the house at five that morning. He didn’t want to sit around waiting for his driver. But now he regretted doing so.
Jaden pulled up outside a nearby grocery store and asked the owner for directions. Fortunately, the man was helpful, and Jaden quickly returned to the car, thinking that if he could finish his business early, he could be home to his son and spend time with him and ask for forgiveness.
But fate had other plans for Jaden, and he found himself in the midst of nowhere. The sun had started hiding behind the pink skies, and it was getting dark in this part of the village. Jaden was probably a few miles away from the meeting point when his car broke down.
The expensive car sputtered and stopped. A plume of smoke met Jaden’s nostrils as he got down and opened the hood, causing him to cough.
Help can sometimes come from unexpected quarters and turn your life around.
“Holy Christ! Not now! Come on!”
Jaden checked his phone for a signal to call a mechanic, but no luck. He looked around and didn’t see a single house in his immediate vicinity. All he could see were paddy fields on either side of the road, where he stood frustrated and tired.
“This has got to be the worst day of my life!” he exclaimed as he walked back to his car. He prayed for a miracle and attempted to restart the engine, but it was futile.
Jaden eventually got out of the car and began walking down the lonely road, trying to find someone to assist him. As he traversed the thick paddy, he could see a few houses in the distance. At least I can get some help! he reasoned. He started walking towards a house and suddenly stopped upon hearing a whining sound.
What was that? What’s that noise? He turned around and stood confused when he saw a pair of sad eyes beside a well in the distance. It was a puppy whining, and Jaden remembered Adam’s desire for a dog and how he had said he didn’t have time to get him one.
Considering it was a sign from God, Jaden now approached the puppy and gently scooped it in his arms. “Hey, hey, you OK? Do you want something to eat? I got some food in my car.”
But the puppy was restless, and it broke free from Jaden’s embrace and began barking and running around the well. It then returned to its old location beside the well, glaring at him and barking.
“What’s wrong? Is there something inside the well?” he asked the dog as if it would answer.
“OK, alright. Lemme see.”
Jaden knelt alongside the well and heard a squeaky voice coming from it. He was taken aback and peered inside, only to find a small boy clutching onto a ledge inside it.
“Damn! How did you get there, kid?” he asked, and the boy raised his head and looked up at him. Jaden noticed the boy’s eyes were red and puffy from crying.
“Hel—Help me. Please!” he said in a low voice, and Jaden quickly took charge of the pulley. “Get in the bucket. You’ll fit in.”
“Are you sure?” he asked. “Wh—what if you can’t pull me up?”
“Just trust me, kid? OK?”
So the boy got into the bucket, and Jaden did manage to pull him out of the well. The boy looked no older than eight years and was crying and gasping for breath.
“Hey, hey, calm down. How did you get in—”
“Thank you for saving me,” he sniffed. “I thought I would die. Thank you, Burns!” he said to his pet dog, who wouldn’t stop licking him.
“So, kid, tell me where you live, and I’ll drop you and your dog off at home, OK?”
“Thank you! I’m Theo.”
“I’m Jaden, and I have a boy like you… he’s a few years older than you. And let me tell you, you were very brave, Theo. You didn’t give up.”
“You… You don’t look like one of us,” the boy suddenly said, looking at Jaden’s expensive outfit; then he got to his feet. “Are you from the city?”
“You are right,” Jaden said. “I’m here for a meeting with a client. I’m actually a businessman.”
As they started on their way to Theo’s home, Jaden and the young boy began discussing their lives. Jaden talked about his job and being a single father, while Theo explained he was trying to get water from the well when he slipped and fell inside.
He said he was there for about an hour and the only person who noticed him was his grumpy neighbor, who ignored him and walked away rather than helping him.
“And why is that?” Jaden asked. “Why would he do that? That is inhumane! How could he just abandon a child like that?”
“That’s Mr. Baker for you,” Theo said sadly. “He doesn’t like children, and he hates me because…”
“I did something wrong.”
“Oh, come on!” Jaden said. “What could a child like you possibly do so wrong?”
“I stole vegetables from his kitchen garden,” Theo confessed. “I shouldn’t have done that. I mean, it’s wrong.”
“And why did you steal those vegetables?”
“I did it for my siblings,” Theo said. “But that doesn’t make me right. Mom says stealing is wrong. I have two little brothers and a sister. They were hungry, and we didn’t have food at home. I went to Mr. Baker early in the morning to ask for vegetables, but he refused, so I stole them.”
Jaden scoffed. “To me, Mr. Baker sounds like someone who deserved this. He was really heartless to leave you there. So, while I agree what you did was terrible, don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Jaden found Theo interesting and very mature for his age. Little did he know the young boy was the sole carer of his younger siblings because their mother was rushed to the hospital after collapsing due to exhaustion.
Theo’s house was in terrible condition, and Jaden couldn’t believe his eyes. How could someone live there? The kitchen sink was overflowing with dirty dishes; there was dust in every nook and corner of the house, and no elders around.
The floorboards creaked as you walked on them, and the home smelled strangely damp. The other kids looked pale and weak and were playing in their room, having nibbled on crackers.
Theo said his father had died of a terrible illness, and his mother looked after them. She worked on a small farm and was taken to the hospital days ago. All their other relatives lived in the city, so they didn’t have anyone to help them.
“How do you handle the food and everything?” Jaden asked, baffled.
“I know how to cook!” Theo said proudly. “Here in the village, all children learn to cook from a young age. I could fix you a tea, Mr. Jaden. You know, I went to the well for water because I needed some to make soup for my siblings. I need to start cooking; they must be hungry.”
“WOW!” Jaden said. “That’s amazing! You’re so young, and you cook! But… you know how Social Services could take you and your siblings away if they discovered how you’re living?”
“I’m not afraid of them. We’ve gotten away from them a few times,” Jaden replied, setting a cooking pan on the burner and putting some bacon on it. He then pulled some sourdough bread from a cabinet and started buttering it.
“Oh, do you need any help? You said you were looking for a mechanic?” Theo asked.
“Well yeah, I need to get my car repaired. I had to meet a client, and while I’m late, I want to finish it before I head home.”
“I could ask Mr. Tommy to help you out. Hold on.”
The young boy dialed a number from the old landline phone at home, and a scruffy man showed up on his doorstep. “You need any help, kid, while your Mom’s away?” he asked Theo, who shook his head. “No, we’re good. This gentleman needs you, Mr. Tommy.”
“Can I take a look at your car?” the mechanic asked Jaden.
“Yeah, sure. Thanks, Theo. And here,” Jaden left a couple of dollar bills on the table. “Get something for your brothers and sister. Thanks for helping me find a mechanic!”
Jaden got his car repaired with Mr. Tommy’s help and drove to the client’s house. Imagine his shock when he discovered the man he was supposed to make a business deal with was none other than Mr. Baker!
The older man was so furious over losing his potatoes and carrots to Theo that he blurted it out to Jaden. And then he said, “This little boy, Theo, he’s a pain! His lazy mother left the kids unattended, and she must have run away with a man—”
Before Mr. Baker would finish his sentence, Jaden cut him off. “I apologize, Mr. Baker. But I don’t think I can do business with someone like you. I happened to meet Theo on the way, and well, you’re so wrong about him and his mother! His mother didn’t run away! She’s in the hospital!”
Mr. Baker was embarrassed. He went after Jaden, convincing him about the business deal, but it was pointless.
As Jaden settled in his car, he had an idea and called Rose. He told her to pack Adam’s bag and bring him to the village for a vacation.
Jaden then drove to Theo’s house and said he would help him make it spick and span. “I am bringing more help for you guys, and I hope it’s OK if my son and I stay here. His school has summer break right now, and we don’t know anyone else here.”
Theo nodded. “Thanks, Mr. Jaden. Mom would love it. I’m not a good cleaner, as you can see!”
During their stay at the village, Jaden and Adam’s relationship improved. Adam was delighted to spend time with his father and Theo’s family, and the village life was like a breath of fresh air for him.
Meanwhile, Rose and Jaden regularly visited Theo’s mother, Carol, in the hospital and said they would help her because Theo had helped Jaden with car repairs.
At that moment, neither Jaden nor Theo nor Adam would have imagined that Jaden and Carol would become friends and lovers and tie the knot six months later to become one big happy family.
But most surprisingly, Jaden and Adam moved to the village, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, to enjoy a peaceful life with the new loving family they were blessed with.
What can we learn from this story?
Spending love on children is more important than building millions for them. Jaden was so focused on making his son’s life comfortable that he forgot his son also needed his love and care.
Help can sometimes come from unexpected quarters and turn your life around. Jaden saved Theo’s life and ended up with a lovely wife and family.