An impoverished woman offers to pay for a man’s groceries and receives an unexpected reward a few days later.
Since it was a weekend and it had been a long time since his work had given him a break, Sam Wilson decided to embrace the household chores and took his children Caroline and Max for grocery shopping.
Having added everything to the shopping cart, he was about to proceed to the cashier when Max came running to him. “Daddy! Daddy!” he cried. “Can we please get some chocolates too? Please, daddy?”
“Sure, Max!” Sam cracked a grin. “But you’ll have to share them with your sister. Remember, sharing is caring, okay?”
The boy giggled. “All right, daddy!”
“But where is Caroline? You two were together, right?”
“I’m here, daddy!” Caroline said as she strolled out of one of the aisle rows, clutching a large box of her favorite cereal. “Daddy! You bought the wrong cereal! I like this one,” she replied as she handed him the bag.
“Oh, sorry, honey,” Sam said and gladly replaced the cereal box with one Caroline had brought. Then he took the chocolates Max had requested and went to the checkout counter. However, just as the cashier was about to hand over the bill, Sam realized he’d left his wallet at home.
“Jeez!” he thought to himself as he reached into his back pocket and found it empty.
“Uhh…” he told the cashier. “If you don’t mind, can you please keep these items aside? Unfortunately, I forgot my wallet at home, so I’ll have to call someone and ask them to get my wallet.”
The cashier scowled and glanced at Sam as if he had asked her for her organs. “What’s wrong with people these days!” she muttered to herself, but loud enough for Sam to hear. “Can’t even check if they brought their wallets before buying stuff from here!”
“Here,” she grumbled, pointing to a card she placed on the table. “Write your name down and place it in your bag. And yes, I want the payment now, or else you won’t be getting any of the stuff you want. Now get out of the way; other customers are awaiting their turn. I’ll keep your stuff on hold till then.”
The cashier was annoyed at Sam. | Source: Unsplash
“Of course, thank you!” Sam responded with a forced smile. He exited the queue, holding Max and Caroline’s hands. “Guys!” he said. “Daddy is going to fetch his phone from the car and call someone to have our bill paid. Until then, you stay here and don’t go anywhere, okay?”
The children nodded in unison, and Sam walked out of the store. However, this time again, luck wasn’t quite on his side, and he realized he had forgotten his phone on the living room table. “Ugh…seriously, Sam?” He cursed himself, having checked the whole car. “This has to be the worst day of my life! How the hell did I forget everything at home?”
He returned to the store and informed Max and Caroline that he would be unable to pay for the items, but they weren’t pleased. They refused to leave the store without their chocolates and cereal. “No, daddy! I want the chocolates! I WANT THEM!” cried Max.
“I want my cereal too, daddy! You promised us you would buy us whatever we wanted! Please, daddy!” added Caroline.
“Look, champ!” Sam told Max. “I promise daddy will get that for you. We’ll have to go home and get daddy’s wallet. Caroline, honey, aren’t you the older sister? You should understand daddy can’t buy the groceries right now. We’ll come back later, okay?”
“No, daddy! PLEASE!!!” The children began crying, and everyone at the store turned to look at them. Sam felt really embarrassed, and he tried to console his kids, but nothing he did was working. He finally decided he would home alone, get the wallet, and pay for the groceries, leaving the kids in the grocery and asking the cashier to keep an eye on them. But just then, a voice interrupted him.
Max began to cry and said that he wouldn’t leave the store without getting his chocolates. | Source: Pexels
“Excuse me, if you don’t mind, I can pay for you. Here,” she said, holding out a few crumpled bills. Sam could tell by the woman’s torn appearance and a wrinkly, sad face that she wasn’t well off.
“Oh no, that’s alright,” he said. “I really can’t take this from you.” But she insisted.
“Please,” she murmured with a smile on her lips. Sam finally accepted the money from her and cleared his bill.
When they walked out of the store, he thanked her again and asked for her address. “Thank you for helping us! It means a lot. I’m Sam – Sam Wilson.”
“Oh, no problem,” the woman said, handing him a piece of paper with her address scribbled on it. “My name is Annie Smith. It was nice to meet you, kids,” she added, smiling at Caroline and Max. “What are your names, by the way?”
“I’m Caroline, and this is my brother Max. Thank you for helping daddy!” Caroline replied, returning a smile.
Annie took out a few inexpensive colored candies from her purse and offered them to the children. “These candies are magical, you know. That’s why they have these special colors. They are only given to good children.”
The children smiled as they took the candies, and Max thanked her.
Sam was surprised at how Annie had managed to impress his children so quickly. As far as he knew, his children had never gotten along so well with strangers, but with Annie’s sweet disposition, Sam was as charmed with her as were his children. “There’s something special about her,” he thought as he drove home that day. “She…she reminds me of Linda.”
All thanks to Annie, Sam managed to pay for his groceries. | Source: Pexels
A few days later, Sam decided to repay Annie and arrived at her address. However, he stopped in his tracks when he noticed she was lying on a half-broken cot in a parking lot. It was in a desolate region with absolutely nothing except old, dirty, nearly worn dwellings nearby. For a brief while, Sam couldn’t believe his eyes!
“Annie? How – How are you doing?” he struggled to speak, looking at her condition. He had expected her to be living in a small house, but he didn’t expect to find her in such a condition.
“Oh Sam!” she said as she got to her feet, a bit embarrassed by her situation. “I didn’t think you’d—”
“I was on my way to work and thought of dropping by. Thank you for everything you did for us that day.” He handed her an envelope full of cash, however, his eyes welled up as he saw her anguish. She had a little stove alongside her cot and a few plastic bags with groceries in them – which were a clear indication that she was homeless.
“As I said, it wasn’t an issue,” Annie said modestly, collecting the envelope and smiling at him.
Sam didn’t care about anything else at the moment except helping her immediately. He was ready to do anything to get her out of her current situation. Why was he feeling so strongly for her? Why was he so worried about her? He was perplexed, but he knew he had to assist her.
“Annie, tell me one thing,” he asked, anxious. “What happened? What are you doing here? How come you’re staying in a parking lot?”
Annie was homeless. | Source: Unsplash
Annie’s smile faded and tears streamed down her cheeks. Sam wanted to hold her, soothe her, and do anything to make her feel better.
“Well, all I can say is that fate was very cruel to me,” she remarked, fighting back the tears. “After my husband died a while ago, my children were placed in foster care. I – I couldn’t look after them, and those security services people took them away…I lost everything in my life…my family, my savings, everything… At one time, I wanted to give up, but then I remembered my children’s faces, and that gave me the strength to keep going…”
Sam felt a sharp pain in his heart. He wanted to tell her right then and there that she didn’t have to worry about anything, that he would help her, but a sudden call kept him from extending his support. He learned Caroline had fallen down the stairs and injured herself, so he quickly fled home.
He apologized to Annie and rushed to the hospital, where Caroline was taken by their housekeeper. Max and the housekeeper were outside the ward while Carioine was unconscious inside.
Sam sent Max and the housekeeper home and spent the day by Caroline’s bedside until she regained consciousness. Thankfully, the injury wasn’t severe, and she would be discharged the next day.
Sam heaved a sigh of relief, but now his mind was wandering to Annie and how helpless she’d felt; she was a mother, and staying away from her children would have been anything but easy for her, he reasoned. And so, he had a plan ready to help her.
Sam was worried about Annie. | Source: Pexels
Two days later, Annie was startled awake by the honk of a car. “Ughhh,” she grumbled, rubbing her eyes. The driver of the luxurious car stepped out and approached her.
“Mrs. Annie Smith? I’m Jonathan, and I’m your valet today,” he said, his face sparkling with a smile. “Please follow me.”
“A valet for me? Look, I assume you’re mistaken,” she said, immediately coming out of her slumber. “I am not—”
“I’m not mistaken, ma’am,” he replied, smiling, as he showed her the address on his phone. “I received your address from my boss and would love to be at your service today. Please allow me to help you,” he said, reaching his hand out to her.
Annie couldn’t understand what was going on, but she followed him. He took her to a spa and then to a high-end clothing store. When she looked at herself in the mirror, decked in a pretty black dress with all that makeup and grooming, she couldn’t believe she was looking at herself.
“Who is your boss? And why is he doing all this for me?” she asked for the nth time, perplexed. Jonathan smiled at her and replied as he did the many times she asked, “You’ll find out soon.”
As the day came to an end, he took her to an exquisite restaurant. A table for two was reserved in her name. As she approached her seat, she admired how beautifully the table was set. The waiter pulled out a chair for her. “Thank you,” she said, smiling.
Annie looked gorgeous in a black dress. | Source: Pexels
Suddenly, she heard a voice behind her. “So, Mrs. Annie Smith, how did you like my surprise?” When she turned around, she couldn’t contain her joy at seeing Sam.
“Ah, Sam! Did you do this all for me? I’m so—”
“You look lovely, Annie,” he said, holding her hands. “Please have a seat.”
“Thank you,” she blushed and nodded.
The two spent the evening together, talking about their lives. Sam revealed he was a millionaire businessman and a single father to his children after his wife Linda had passed away a few years ago. Annie listened to him patiently, and not even once did her eyes move away from him.
As the evening came to an end, Sam handed her a gift box. “Please accept this as a token of my gratitude. I hope you like it.”
Annie didn’t want to take it after all he’d done for her, but he insisted, and she had to give in. When she opened the box, she found a note inside. “Please proceed to the reception desk. Something is waiting for you.”
She laughed. “What is this, Sam?”
“Well, you’ll find out,” he winked.
Sam and Annie went on a dinner date. | Source: Unsplash
She went to the reception desk and broke down in tears when she received another envelope. There were documents inside transferring Sam’s $2.1M mansion to her. There was also paperwork for her children’s custody inside, stating she’d soon have their custody back.
“Oh, Sam! Tha – Thank you,” she struggled to speak as she turned around, only to find Sam on his knees, holding a ring in his hand. “Would you like to handle this idiot for the rest of your life, Annie? I love you and would like to bother you every day until I die.”
She blushed at his overdramatic proposal and nodded a yes, teary-eyed. Sam and Annie got married one month later, and now they have a beautiful family of 5 children including Annie’s children, Harry, Tom, and Henry.
What can we learn from this story?
Goodness is like a boomerang; it always comes back in some form. Annie assisted Sam when he couldn’t pay for his groceries, and in exchange, she gained a wonderful family.
When God closes one door for us, he certainly opens another one. Annie lost her children after her husband’s death but gained them back. In addition, she gained a loving family.
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