Jack was a pilot who adopted and raised the boy he found abandoned at the airport. Little did he know that 20 years later, the boy’s biological mother would show up.
Something inside Jack had died the day his son, Toby, drowned in front of his eyes. After Toby died, his wife divorced him and took away their other son, and Jack said nothing.
He never fought for custody of his other son because he blamed himself for everything. While his wife was visiting her parents, he had taken his boys to the beach. He had left them alone for a few minutes to get them hot dogs. If he hadn’t done that, his son would still be alive. He had tried to save Toby, but it was too late.
All alone and without a family’s love, Jack became a machine. All he did was work, eat, and sleep. He had no idea how his life would change when he came across an abandoned baby boy at the airport…
That day, Jack was walking past the airport lounge when he heard a loud crying sound and came to a halt. When he looked around, he was surprised to see an unattended little boy lying in a stroller, crying his eyes out.
Jack approached the boy, perplexed as to why there were no elders around him.
“Hey, hey, champ, it’s all right,” he said softly. “You’re going to be just fine.”
But the baby wouldn’t stop crying. Jack still had a couple of hours before his flight, so he decided to stay with the boy until an elder arrived. But after waiting for almost 30 minutes, when not a single soul approached the stroller, Jack was worried.
The baby had stopped crying, and Jack had bought him a toy from one of the airport stores to keep him engaged, but he was worried if the boy’s guardian or whoever accompanied him was safe.
So Jack notified the airport authorities of the situation, but hours passed, and nobody came to take the boy.
“This is insane. Inform the cops,” Jack finally told the airport personnel. Then, as he bent down to say goodbye to the boy before leaving for his flight, he noticed a note poking out of the little child’s pocket.
“One second, buddy, looks like you got something in there…” Jack pulled out the note and sighed as he read it.
“I’m sorry. I feel awful that I’m doing this as his mother, but I can’t give him a good life. I hope you can. Please love him.”
The damage done to a child can never be undone.
Jack realized what was going on. The boy was abandoned by his mother at the airport.
Even Jack couldn’t explain why, but the boy reminded him of Toby. He felt as if God had given him another chance to be with his late son. Perhaps they needed each other.
So six months later, after the boy’s family couldn’t be traced, Jack adopted the boy. He named the boy Terry, and Terry grew to love Jack as a dad.
And Jack, well, he was an excellent father. Having Terry in his life allowed him to break free from his loneliness and look at life in a new light. He never tried to hide the fact from Terry that he was adopted after being abandoned at the airport, and Terry couldn’t care less.
“You gave me a loving home, Dad,” he always used to say. “You’re my family. I don’t care if you’re my bio dad or not!”
Twenty years later, a grown-up Terry followed in Jack’s footsteps and became a pilot. The dad-son duo got the amazing opportunity to fly the plane to JFK together on Terry’s birthday, and they couldn’t be happier.
“This is the best day of my life, dad!” Terry exclaimed as the plane was thousands of feet above sea level. “I’m doing what I love, and I have the best person in my life with me!”
At that moment, Jack and Terry could never have imagined what awaited them. As the flight landed, a woman in soiled clothing burst into the cockpit despite the flight crew’s efforts to stop her.
“I’ve been waiting for you for 20 years!” cried the woman, her gaze fixed on Terry. She approached him and whispered in his ears, “I know you have a birthmark on your back. Only a mother would know that, honey, because I AM YOUR BIRTH MOTHER!”
“Ma’am, please, you’re not allowed in here!” cried the stewardess. “Please leave!”
But Terry stopped her. “No, wait,” he said. “Please take care of the other passengers getting off… I’ll talk to her.”
When the woman, Terry, and Jack were alone in the cockpit, Terry looked at Jack and said, “Dad, I think she’s my mother.”
“I am your mother, yes,” said the woman. “I left that note for you, remember?”
“So, why are you here?” Jack asked flatly. “I hope you aren’t here for the return-my-son-to-me drama!”
“I don’t care why she’s here, dad,” Terry said. “She’s hurt me enough. I don’t want to be related to her in any way. So let me be very clear. I don’t care why you’re here,” he told the woman, “but this man standing right beside me is my only family. He is my dad, and I won’t leave him for anyone!”
The woman’s eyes welled up.
“Regrets…” she whispered. “Regrets are what I have. I’m Edith, by the way. I only want to let you know I wasn’t a bad mother. I was compelled to do what I did, son. I really was…” she said as she began narrating her story.
“You were the brightest star in my dark sky when I had you, honey. Your father did not want you, and he left me to fend for myself when I was pregnant. I was adamant about giving birth to you, and I did that. But life doesn’t always go as we planned, does it?”
“I couldn’t find a job, and I was struggling… oh, I was! I didn’t want you to suffer, so I had to leave you. I’m so glad you didn’t miss out on love. Now, I’m not saying this because I want you to feel bad or anything… but… I only have a few months to live. Brain tumor, the doctors said. I wanted to beg for my son’s forgiveness before I died.”
“I’m sorry for what I did, honey,” she continued. “I am so sorry. I hope you forgive your mother. I was always around you, watching you from afar. I am sorry I didn’t have the courage to approach you and hug you. I am sorry…”
Edith was sobbing her heart like a child when she felt a warm hug around her shoulder. It was Terry.
“Parents are more than just people who want the best for their children. They’re actually present in their kids’ lives, to improve them. So I can’t say all of this is easy for me,” he said. “But I am happy to know you didn’t hate me. We can do this, mom. We’ll get you treated, ok? While I might need time to process everything, I want you to know I forgive you…”
Jack couldn’t have been prouder. He admired what Terry did. He even helped with Edith’s treatment, but sadly, a few months later, Edith passed away.
Terry was holding her hands when she died, and the last thing she said to him was, “I’ve always loved you, son. I have! But the man who raised you is a better parent than I was.”
What can we learn from this story?
Forgiving is not easy, but a strong heart can and should. While it wasn’t easy for Terry to forgive Edith, he did so because he knew she wasn’t entirely to blame for what she did.
Parents are more than just people who want the best for their children. They improve their child’s life. The damage done to a child can never be undone. Terry was hurt that Edith had abandoned him, and it wasn’t easy for him to forgive her.
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