Landon lived in a group home his entire life until, at 18, the director introduced him to his wealthy parents. They took him to their mansion nearby and explained the shocking truth of why he lived at an orphanage.
“Mr. Callaghan, I was told to come to your office,” Landon said, entering the orphanage director’s office and closing the door.
“Yes, Landon. Come in,” the older man said, gesturing with his hand.
“Have you found a job for me, sir?” the newly 18-year-old asked.
“No, boy. But do you have your things packed?”
“Yes, sir. But I don’t know where I’m going yet,” Landon shook his head, defeated.
For 18 years, he lived in a group home, hoping and praying that some family would adopt him. But it never happened. Every single family overlooked him, and he watched his friends leave while he had to stay. He was never placed in a foster home either, but at least he got a part-time job in his teen years to prepare for the future.
“And this will be your room!” she cheered and wobbled, trying to open the door.
He had saved money for his first apartment but hoped that Mr. Callaghan would help him find a full-time job to start paying bills.
“Listen, Landon. There’s a reason why you never got adopted,” Mr. Callaghan breathed deeply, linking his fingers on his desk. “You have parents, and they’re here for you now.”
“What? How is that possible?” Landon asked, thinking he had misheard the director.
“Yes, it’s a long story. And it’s better if they tell you the whole truth. But just know that you weren’t adopted because your parents never renounced their rights, so legally, it wasn’t possible. You had to stay here,” Mr. Callaghan continued, his face troubled.
“But why didn’t I live with them?” he continued, more confused than ever.
“That’s something for them to tell you. Just grab your things. Your new life is about to start,” the director said, standing from his desk.
Landon went outside and saw two elegant older people waiting by a luxury car, the kind only certain people could ever afford. “Oh! Landon!” the woman cheered and ran to him with her arms wide.
The young man’s hands were full of his bags, so he couldn’t stop her from wrapping him in a hug. “I missed you!” she said, which was even more stupefying.
The man approached slowly, but he was smiling. He shook Mr. Callaghan’s hand and patted Landon’s back. “Look at you, my boy. So tall and handsome like your old man,” the stranger laughed.
Landon had no idea what to say to these people. He blinked several times, thinking this was the oddest dream in the world. He pinched his side to wake up when nothing happened, but he was still there, and the strangers were staring at him expectantly.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say,” he muttered, shrugging.
“Don’t worry, dear. We’re going to explain everything in the car,” the woman said and snapped her fingers at the driver, who rushed to take Landon’s bags.
“I can do that,” Landon shook his head, holding on.
“Landon, let him put your bags in the trunk. That’s his job,” the man said, and they all started moving toward the car.
Landon looked back at Mr. Callaghan, who smiled awkwardly but nodded encouragingly. “Go on,” he mouthed, and Landon moved forward almost unwillingly.
Once inside the car, the woman offered him champagne. “I’m just 18,” he shook his head slightly.
“Don’t worry about that. It’s just a little sip for our celebration. We finally have our son back. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” she continued and sipped.
“Landon, I’m your father,” the man called his attention. “My name is Boris, and your mother’s name is Calista.”
“Nice to meet you,” he said politely. He wasn’t sure of anything in that surreal moment, but he wanted to cut to the chase. “Hmm, so if you’re my parents, why did I live in a group home my entire life?”
Calista stared at her husband and waited for him to explain. “Well, after we had you, we realized how busy being a parent full-time was. We were running a business then, which is now a huge success. You’d be proud to join our family,” Boris began.
“Anyway, we needed time for that, and we didn’t have much time for being good parents, so we thought we could send you to a group home for a while. They would raise you and give you everything you needed, and later, we would take over when you were old enough,” Calista continued as if she couldn’t contain herself. “Isn’t that brilliant?”
“That way, you wouldn’t have to grow up with neglectful parents or feel ignored in our house. You grew up around other kids and people whose jobs were to care for you. That must have been better than our house,” Boris interjected, smiling and nodding at his wife.
“Will you watch our company while we’re away?” Boris asked, and Landon nodded.
Landon was floored…and speechless.
“Of course, we paid for everything you needed and gave extra donations to the group home, as well,” Calista said, sipping more champagne.
“But now, you’re coming home finally, and you’re going to love it,” Boris assured, patting Landon’s shoulder again.
A few minutes after they got in the car, they arrived at a huge house. All Landon could think was that they lived pretty close to the group home, and he never knew about them. He didn’t know what to do with that information, so he walked timidly and quietly behind them.
Calista gave him a tour, showing their expensive things, rattling on about getting something somewhere abroad, and the 18-year-old could only grin and nod, frozen. Finally, they reached a room. “And this will be your room!” she cheered and wobbled, trying to open the door. The champagne got to her head.
The doors opened into a vast space that must have been twice the size of any room at the orphanage. It had a king-size bed in the middle. There was a giant flat screen with tons of video game consoles. There were posters on the walls, presents on the bed, a full walk-in closet, a gaming computer in the corner, and more.
It was every teenager’s dream bedroom, and Landon couldn’t fully comprehend things. “We bought anything we thought you might want or need. We wanted to be ready for you to come home. But if anything is missing, just tell us,” Boris said. “Oh, and just so you know. We have set up a $3 million trust fund for you, but you’ll get it once you’re 21.”
Landon blinked at his new father and nodded. “Thank you,” he mumbled, unable to say anything else.
“Good,” Boris nodded. “I mean, we will still give you anything you want. It’s just that a trust fund is better.”
“OK,” he muttered. The three of them stared at each other for a second too long. It was getting awkward between them again until Calista interrupted.
“OK, we’ll leave you for now, but we’re going to a great restaurant tonight! Get ready!” she said as she and her husband closed the door.
Landon sat on his bed, stared around his new room, and pinched himself again. He had everything he had ever dreamed of: parents, a PlayStation, his own room, a huge TV, and a phone, and he was away from the orphanage.
But it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like he imagined. Over the years, he had seen his buddies get adopted and watched them walk off with their new families with smiles. That happiness was something Landon hoped to have.
Calista and Boris smiled, too. Too widely, perhaps. But somehow, it didn’t feel like that. It didn’t feel real. Had he become a cynic that couldn’t enjoy this miracle after so long? Or was he stuck on the fact that his parents thought it was better to send him away, make him believe he was an orphan, and only get him now that they didn’t have to raise him?
In any case, he was there now, and Landon would have to make the best out of an odd situation.
Over the next few weeks, he tried to adapt. His parents had maids and cooks at their disposal and seemingly endless money. He played video games for hours, ate what he wanted, and Boris gave him a car to start learning how to drive.
“I’ll get you your own car when you have a license. For now, use my old car,” his father said. It was a 2021 fancy SUV, so it wasn’t really “old,” but Landon was learning that his parents didn’t have any sense of reality, meaning they had always lived with this kind of luxury.
While trying to learn to drive, Landon thought about the person he would be if he had grown up like this. He may have gone to a private school and college. Would he be a snob? A bully? A spoiled brat?
Perhaps, Boris and Calista – although misguided and superficial – had done him a favor after all. Landon couldn’t decide. Some days, he felt angry at them, but he never said anything. On other days, he felt grateful for all they’d been giving him now. He was free. Other times, he was just numb and confused about the future.
“I want to go college, Dad,” Landon requested. It had been a few months since they took him home. “What major did you pick?”
“Oh, dear boy. I was a business major all the way. I’m glad you’re thinking of the future. Business would be great. Mr. Callaghan told us you were always good at math. Let me call up some tutors I know, and set up you,” Boris suggested, and Calista was glad.
Landon had started calling them Mom and Dad, and they were so happy. He was still unsure about everything they had done but was trying to move on.
Soon, he took the SATs, applied to college, and got into a fancy school near their town. His parents rented him a nice condo, furnished it, and told him to call if he needed something. Landon was curious to know if they were trying to compensate for the lost years or if they just fixed everything with money.
Regardless, he would use anything they gave him to his advantage. He went to college, graduated with honors, and Boris offered him a position at his company.
“You’re going to inherit the business after all. I’m so proud of you,” his father said at his graduation dinner. His mother celebrated by drinking too much.
Landon took to the business quickly. He was quick on his feet, knew how to negotiate despite being timid his entire life, and worked his way up and up, despite technically being a nepotism baby. Soon, his father gave him more responsibilities, and by the end of that year, he was running things for him.
“Is this revenge or something? We loved you!” Calista wailed.
“I’m so glad we have a son running things now. I can finally plan that months-long trip to Europe I’ve been dying for,” Calista revealed one night.
“Will you watch our company while we’re away?” Boris asked, and Landon nodded.
“Of course, Dad. I can run it in my sleep,” he laughed. His parents joined in the merriment, and they left for Europe a few days later.
Calista and Boris were gone for four months, and Landon finally made a decision after years of trying to think and reflect on his feelings. He felt somewhat guilty, but it had to be done.
When they arrived home, his mother called, “My son, come home tonight for dinner!” He agreed.
But a few hours before dinner, his father called. “Landon, I’m trying to get into my bank account and the business account too, but neither at letting me,” he said. “Do you know what’s happening?”
“Yes, sir. I closed those accounts,” he told his father on the phone while preparing for dinner.
“Excuse me? Why? Did you move them somewhere better?”
“In a manner of speaking,” Landon said, dropping the bombshell. “I gave it all to charity.”
Boris was dead quiet on the other line.
“I consolidated your assets at the company, sold shares to the partners, and gave all that money to children’s group homes around the state and even other charities. Aren’t you proud of your boy?” Landon asked sarcastically.
“ARE YOU INSANE?” Boris burst out suddenly.
“No, Dad. I’m not. You made good use of the orphanage; they deserve all that money for their efforts over the years. Don’t you think?”
“You little thief!”
“No, I didn’t steal anything. I didn’t take any money for myself. I even sold the condo you guys gave me and gave the money to charity, too,” Landon suggested. “Anyway, I’ll see you at dinner.”
Boris tried to yell some more, but Landon hung up. He took his car, drove to his parents’ mansion, and was greeted by a red-faced man and a wailing woman.
“How could you do this to us? After all these years? After everything we gave you?” Calista yelled. Her hair flew as she shook her head. “You ungrateful brat!”
Boris looked on the verge of violence but was trying to contain himself. “We gave you everything,” he said calmly.
Landon shook his head. “No, you gave me nothing. You gave me away and didn’t allow me to get adopted by a family who would love me. You wanted me only later when it was more convenient for you. That wasn’t fair. Not to me. I don’t care about your stupid money, luxuries, or anything else. I just pretended.”
“You took what we gave you at 18!” Boris’ angry face contorted with his words.
“Yeah. I admit to that. I needed to get something from you guys, at least. But it’s over now. I donated the money in your name so children and other organizations all over the state know about your generosity. You are philanthropists now. You should be thankful,” Landon continued, his hands behind his back.
“Is this revenge or something? We loved you!” Calista wailed.
“You didn’t love me. You loved yourselves…and money. You took my chance at a family – what I wanted the most – so I took what you love the most: your luxuries,” Landon shrugged. “But I’m not completely evil. Here.”
He produced a check from his jacket pocket. It was for $3 million.
“Is that from your trust fund?” Boris asked disdainfully.
“It might only be enough to pay your debts. I only wanted to teach you a lesson, not leave you on the streets…” Landon explained. “Goodbye, Boris. Calista. I hope never to see you again.”
He turned around and walked away from the people who had hurt him the most. And with this chapter finally closed, it was time to start his life at last.
What can we learn from this story?
You can’t decide to become a parent when it’s convenient. What Calista and Boris did was despicable and unthinkable. That’s why Landon could never think of them as his real parents.
Some people can only learn life lessons the difficult way. Landon did something drastic, but Calista and Boris had to be taught their actions were terrible.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.