An arrogant rich man is made to have a change of heart after he comes across something unexpected one day—he visits a grocery store and discovers his teenage son mopping the floors.
It was a terrible, terrible day when Adam, 16, returned home from school. He was drenched from the heavy rain that afternoon, but despite his dislike for rain, Adam was in a good mood.
“Those clothes are gonna make you sick, young man. Call the driver the next time,” said his father, Steve, as the young boy entered the house.
“It’s fine, Dad,” Adam said cheerfully. “I met this really nice guy at school, and he helped me today… I gave him my umbrella because he didn’t have one.”
“Help yourself before you can help others, Adam!” Steve said. “I don’t appreciate you coming home like this!”
“Relax, Dad! He stood up to the bullies to help me. This was the least I could do for him! His name is Kevin. He’s a nice guy.”
Sometimes, young minds understand life better than us older folks.
Kevin—that name seemed familiar to Steve. In fact, he knew exactly who it could be. And he was correct.
Steve learned Kevin was his ex-employee Patrick’s son. Patrick was fired from his job after he tried to steal money from the company.
Steve was enraged when he discovered Kevin was attempting to get close to Adam, so he warned Adam to stay away from him.
“That boy is using you, Adam!” said Steve. “His father used to work for me. He tried to steal money and was fired! I was kind enough not to hand him over to the cops, alright? You better watch out, boy!”
“Dad,” countered Adam. “That’s got nothing to do with Kevin. I don’t blame him for what his dad did. Come on! That’d be insane!”
“Son,” his father said as calmly as he could. “You know very little about how the world works and have no idea how people can use you to their advantage. Keep your distance from that man’s son! That’s all!”
But Adam didn’t do that. Despite his father’s warnings to avoid Kevin, he remained friends with him.
One day, Adam invited Kevin to a movie after school, but Kevin declined.
“I’m sorry, Adam, but I can’t come!” Kevin exclaimed.
“But why? You were so excited when we first discussed it!”
“I don’t know… I changed my mind, I guess.”
“Hey dude, tell me if something’s bothering you. Maybe I can help?” offered Adam.
“Actually, you can,” Kevin said. “Let’s call it quits as friends, Adam. I don’t want to be your friend. Sorry,” and Kevin left.
Adam didn’t understand why Kevin suddenly wanted to end their friendship, so he skipped the movie that afternoon and followed Kevin home.
“I’m not leaving until you tell me the reason, Kevin!” Adam confronted him. “Be honest. Does this have anything to do with my dad? Did he come to meet you?”
Kevin sighed. “It has something to do with both of our dads. It’s better if you stay out of it, Adam. Really.”
“Cool, I’ll do it if you say so,” Adam said. “But only if you tell me the story behind all of this. Look, I know what your dad did at my dad’s office, and—”
“You don’t know everything,” said Kevin. “I lost my mom because of what happened.”
“You what?” asked Adam, shocked.
Kevin nodded in tears. “Dad really needed that money for Mom’s surgery. She had some heart disease. Dad worked extra shifts but couldn’t afford the required amount, and we didn’t have any insurance. So he… look, I know what he did was wrong. Dad tried to steal money for Mom’s surgery, and he was caught. He was fired, and now we’re struggling.”
“Mom died. Dad was injured in an accident at the factory where he worked. And now he needs surgery. Otherwise, he’ll be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. But we can’t afford the surgery, and I don’t know what to do. Now you know what happened, so please leave! Dad’s coming home from the hospital today… I don’t want him to see you here. Your dad hates my dad, so it’s just better if we end our friendship. Sorry.”
Adam quietly left Kevin’s house, but he couldn’t bear to see his friend in trouble. He knew what Kevin’s father had done was wrong, but he had to help his friend, so he decided to collect money secretly and help Patrick and Kevin.
A few days later, Adam took a part-time job at a grocery store. He worked as a cleaner there, mopping the floors and cleaning the counters and aisles.
At home, he didn’t tell the truth to anyone. Everyone thought he was out with his friends playing basketball. But lies have a way of getting out, and Adam would be in big trouble soon.
When Steve went to the grocery store one day, he was shocked to see his teen son mopping the floors.
“Adam!” he yelled angrily. “What exactly are you doing here? Why are you cleaning the floors, for Christ’s sake? Did you just lie about that basketball thing?”
“Dad?” stammered Adam. “I—I was just trying to help!”
“You better come with me right now!”
Steve dragged Adam out of the grocery store to his car and began yelling at him.
“Is this where you practice basketball with your imaginary friends?” he asked furiously. “What is going on? I don’t think you need to work here to pay for your expenses!”
“I am helping Kevin, Dad,” said Adam. “His dad needs my help, and I—I don’t want to repeat your mistakes!”
A confused and angry Steve didn’t understand what Adam meant until the young boy shared Kevin’s story.
“….and so he needs my help, Dad,” said Adam. “His dad can’t walk again if he doesn’t get the surgery done. We can help him, Dad, and by choosing not to, we’d be wrong on our part. Just like his dad was wrong when he tried to steal that money. Two wrongs don’t make a right, Dad. I wanna do the right thing on my part!”
After listening to his young son’s mature words, something inside Steve shifted. He looked at Adam and realized he had been so consumed in his anger that he’d completely forgotten he was first a human, then a boss.
“You’re right, Adam,” Steve said after giving his son’s words some thought. “Thanks for making me realize I was wrong. You don’t need to work here. I have an idea to help your friend!”
That day, Adam and Steve visited Kevin’s house, and Adam gave him an envelope.
Kevin didn’t accept it at first. In fact, he was angry and tried to chase Adam and Steve away from the doorstep, but Patrick intervened.
“Kevin, that’s no way to treat guests! I’m sorry, Steve, come in…”
Steve placed the envelope on their living room table and said, “I was heartless to not consider your situation, Patrick. Maybe if I had been more considerate, you wouldn’t have done what you did, and you wouldn’t have lost your wife. I feel bad, and I want to do this.”
“It wasn’t your fault, Steve,” said Patrick. “I was wrong… no matter what, I should never have gone down that road. And please, don’t offer this. It’s really fine.”
But Steve somehow talked Patrick into accepting the envelope, which contained money to cover the surgery, and insisted that Patrick get the surgery done.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right, Patrick. My son taught me that! Our boys are not kids anymore! I think they understand the world better than we did when we were their age!”
What can we learn from this story?
Sometimes, young minds understand life better than us older folks. Adam’s wise words made Steve realize how wrong he’d been to let Patrick suffer after knowing he was in trouble, and he made amends for it.
True friends stick together through thick and thin. Kevin and Adam became friends without caring about each other’s background and status, and they stayed friends forever.
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