A rich surgeon who has always provided her daughter with only the best is stunned to find her face tattooed on a homeless man’s arm. When he asks the poor man why he got the tattoo done, he learns a lesson he’ll never forget.
Josefina had never hated her 56-year-old renowned surgeon dad, but she didn’t have a choice that day. Ben had invited the chief physician, his wife, and their son to dinner and wanted to introduce Josefina to them.
Ben was a widower and had raised Josefina alone after his wife passed away. He’d always given the best to his daughter and now wanted to find a suitable match for her, someone who came from wealth and could give her a good life.
But Josefina didn’t think likewise. The last thing she wanted was for her father to pick her fiancé. So when Ben told her about the dinner plans and insisted on her presence, she was furious…
“Get yourself a gorgeous outfit, honey. Derek and his family are coming over tonight, and don’t worry about the money,” he said as he laid his credit card on the nightstand.
“I’ve got a lot of clothes, Dad!” Josefina snapped, her eyes glued to her phone. “Besides, I don’t need your money.”
“I want my daughter to look her best tonight,” Ben said, smiling. “Come on, a famous surgeon’s daughter coming out dressed as a weirdo wouldn’t look good!”
When you look past a person’s outward appearance, you learn to appreciate them for their heart.
Josefina rolled her eyes and looked at her father. “Why are you acting like that for someone who isn’t a close colleague? Don’t you think that’s a little excessive, Dad?”
“Well, it’s only a matter of time before we get close,” Ben joked. “Now, don’t be such a bummer! Isn’t that what you kids say all the time? We’re going to get a lovely dress, OK?” he added, patting the credit card.
Josefina didn’t get the dress, nor did she answer the doorbell later that day when Derek and his family were finally at their house.
“Honey, can you please check the door?” Ben called out to her.
There was no answer.
“Josefina?” he called again.
Eventually, Ben answered the door and had to apologize for keeping the guests waiting. “I guess she missed the bell. She’ll be here soon. I’ll go check on her,” he said as he made his way up the stairs to Josefina’s room.
Ben knocked on her door. “Are you ready, honey?” he asked quietly. “Everyone has arrived.”
There were no replies.
Ben turned the doorknob, but it was locked from the inside. He couldn’t even yell at Josefina to open the door because the guests were waiting downstairs. He called on her phone, but she didn’t answer.
“What’s going on, Josefina? Open the damned door!” he messaged her, pacing nervously outside her door. Seconds later, his phone beeped with a reply.
“I’ll be down in ten minutes, Dad. Please, for the love of God, calm down and stop banging on my door!”
Minutes later, Josefina appeared in the living room, and Ben was shocked. She was wearing a crop top and a pair of ripped, baggy jeans—something one would never wear for dinner with complete strangers—and Derek and his family were equally stunned.
“Excuse me, everyone. We’ll be right back,” Ben said, hiding his embarrassment as he took her aside.
“What the hell is wrong with you, Josefina? Why are you dressed like that?” he demanded angrily.
“I can dress however I want, Dad!” she retorted. “Stop controlling my life! I know why you invited your so-called friend over! Don’t worry; I’m not going to ruin your dinner plans. But I’m not going to act as if everything is OK! I hate what you’re doing!”
Throughout the dinner, Ben insisted on Derek and Josefina being a fantastic couple, a perfect match. But Josefina was tired of the awkward conversation and pretending to be normal, so she abruptly stood up and left as the dinner was about to end, saying she had her own plans.
Ben had never felt so humiliated before. He couldn’t believe his daughter had walked away without even saying goodbye to the guests. Ben didn’t go to bed that night until Josefina returned home.
“For Christ’s sake, where have you been, Josefina? It’s past midnight!” he scowled as she walked in.
“Don’t get too worked up, Dad!” she snapped. “I was at the Oakwood’s shelter. I had an event tonight. And I still made time for your stupid dinner!”
“You were at… what? That homeless shelter? AGAIN?”
“Dad, stop!” she cried. “I’m not a kid! I’m 24, and I don’t need your permission to go out or date someone!”
“Oil and water don’t mix, honey! I invited Derek’s family because I want you to marry someone who will keep you happy and would not want you to pay for everything! Tell me you’re not going out with a bum!”
“Wow!” Josefina sighed. “Dad, you know what? I don’t mind if I have to pay for everything! So, let’s stop this conversation right here! Seriously, something’s very wrong with you!” she hissed as she disappeared to her room.
From then on, things only got worse for Ben and Josefina. The next evening, Ben waited for her to return home and anxiously paced in front of their living room window, which overlooked their main street.
He watched Josefina return home from there every evening. That day, however, she wasn’t home until 2 am. As soon as she stepped inside, Ben began questioning why she was late, and Josefina lost her cool.
She blurted out she was volunteering at the homeless shelter and had later gone out on a date with her boyfriend. “And Dad, he’s the best guy I’ve ever met. He’s not got all the money in the world, but he has a heart of gold! Now, before you start telling me how he’s not deserving and all that, I’m too tired for anything. I’m going to my room!”
“I’m not done talking yet,” her father calmly said, and she stopped in her tracks.
“If you stay in my house, you follow my rules, or you can leave!”
Josefina was taken aback. “You’ve got to be kidding, Dad!”
“Oh, I’m serious!” he declared. “And that’s the end of it, honey.”
An hour later, Josefina and her things were gone. Ben didn’t realize his daughter had left until he checked on her later that morning and saw a note on her bedside table in which she’d mentioned she was leaving him forever.
Ben called her multiple times, but it went straight to voicemail each time. There were no responses to his messages either. Ben couldn’t believe his daughter had abandoned him for another man. He couldn’t even call the cops to help him find his daughter because she wasn’t technically missing.
But then Ben thought about the homeless shelter. The Oakwood’s Home! Josefina had told him she was volunteering there and would undoubtedly visit the shelter.
So the following evening, Ben parked his car a few buildings away from the homeless shelter and waited for Josefina. At around seven, he saw her walk into the building. Ben had been waiting for his daughter for about two hours when she emerged from the shelter and disappeared into the street across.
He wanted to follow her immediately but was afraid she’d notice his car, so he waited a few minutes before turning the ignition on and gripping the steering wheel tightly.
Ben sped up the street and into the road across from the shelter. He was so focused on ensuring he didn’t lose sight of his daughter that he didn’t notice the homeless man who appeared in front of his car from the lateral alley.
There was a loud thud as the man’s body collided with his car. The homeless man’s guitar case was tossed far away during the accident, and Ben panicked.
“No, no, Jesus!” he cried as he ran out, only to find the man unconscious and bleeding.
“Your girlfriend?” Ben asked, shocked.
“God, no! What have I done?” Ben was so terrified that he couldn’t think about anything except rushing the man to his hospital. He carried the scruffy man to his car and drove as fast as he could. Thankfully, it was dark, the streets were deserted, and no one, not even Josefina, saw them.
As they arrived at the hospital, the homeless man was rushed to the OR for surgery, and Ben’s heart was racing fast, hoping the man’s condition would soon be stable.
The door to the OR opened a few hours later, after what seemed like an eternity to Ben. He sighed with relief when the doctors said the man was OK and would soon be moved to the general ward.
“Thank you so much, Dr. Smith,” Ben told his colleague. “Can I go check on him?”
“We’ll let you know after he’s been transferred to the general ward, mate. Take care.”
Ben took a deep breath and buried his face in his palms before entering the man’s ward. The injured guy was lying on the bed with his eyes closed and IV patches attached to his arm.
Ben approached his bed and was about to ask how he was when he froze. Before he realized it, he was holding the man’s arm, which had IV patches attached to it, and staring at his tattoo. The man opened his eyes.
“What in the world is that? That—That tattoo!” Ben cried. “Why do you have that face tattooed on your arm?”
The man smiled weakly. “That’s my girlfriend and future wife, doc,” the man said. “I love her more than anything else in the world. She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”
Ben was shocked and couldn’t believe the man, who looked homeless and scruffy, was his daughter’s boyfriend! Nor was he prepared for the next shocking detail the man revealed about Josefina.
“Thank you for saving my life and bringing me here,” the man added. “I’m Connor. You’ve saved not only my but my girlfriend’s and our unborn daughter’s lives. They’d be devastated if something horrible happened to me…”
“You… You don’t have to bring it up,” Ben said meekly. “It was my fault; I didn’t see you coming and accidentally ran into you. I’m relieved that nothing awful happened. But this woman…” he paused. “Don’t mind me, young man, but my hair didn’t turn silver overnight. Raising a family is no joke. And you claim you love her?! Does she feel likewise? And you two got a daughter!?”
The man grinned. “I know what you’re trying to ask, doc. You’re probably wondering how a scruffy man like me can support his family. Since you’re my savior, I’ll let you in on a little secret,” he said. “I’ve recently bought a little house for my future wife and our child. I was homeless, but now it’s the three of us in a lovely little apartment…”
“On the tattoo, you can see my girlfriend’s name… Josefina. She inspires me to keep going. I’m a busker, and I make a living by playing my instruments. You know, I starved for days to buy a guitar, and I think I’d probably have to burn my savings again. I’ve busked in subways, streets, and pretty much wherever else you can think of.”
“And that’s how I could afford the house. Not like I’m complaining, but it was hard work. I didn’t mind it ’cause nothing matters to me more than my family. I was even planning on taking up another job as a builder or something, but you know, not everyone appreciates a scruffy man.”
“Your girlfriend appears to be a lucky girl…” Ben replied, fighting back the tears. “I’ll make it up to you for the guitar! It was my fault.”
“I appreciate that. But yeah, honestly, I’m the lucky one,” Connor said. “Josefina’s gone through a lot of stuff. She wanted to become a musician but can’t ’cause her father doesn’t support her. And she lost her mother when she was young. She’s having a hard time juggling between her college major and her passion. So all I want to do is be there for her and make her happy. I’d say—”
Before Connor would finish, his phone started ringing. Josefina was calling him.
“Sorry, I need to take this. My girlfriend,” he said.
Ben left Connor’s room and sank onto one of the waiting chairs in the corridor. Connor indeed had a heart of gold, and Josefina was pregnant.
Ben realized he had been so strict with his daughter that she had not shared the most beautiful part of her life with him—he was going to be a grandfather! Instead of making his daughter happy, Ben realized he was driving her away.
So, when Josefina bumped into him at the hospital after Connor told her what had transpired, the older man decided to make amends.
“I know everything, children,” he said, taking Josefina and Connor’s hands. “Now that Connor knows I’m your father, honey, I’m sorry for everything you’ve gone through because of me. All I want is for you to be happy, and I’m willing to help you both for as long as I can… Until Connor gets on his feet.”
But Josefina pulled her hand away. “As I’d said before, I don’t need your money, Dad. I’ve got a home, and I’m never coming back to your house!”
Even after Ben attempted to reconcile their differences, things did not improve between him and Josefina. She didn’t even let him pay for Connor’s treatment until he told her he wanted to do it because he felt guilty. Would his daughter ever forgive him?
Ben didn’t know that, but he wasn’t going to give up so soon. He paid Josefina and Connor a visit a few days later, and the new parents were surprised to see Ben arrive in a truck with a dozen guys unloading baby items: cribs, toys, and supplies.
“Dad, what are you even doing?” Josefina asked irritably, approaching him. “I don’t—”
Josefina didn’t get to finish. Ben held her close as his tears poured freely. “Please,” he said. “I don’t have a dozen daughters. As a parent and grandfather, I want to do this. I know Connor will always keep you happy, honey, but I don’t want to fall short as a father.”
“I’m sorry, honey. Please. Please forgive your father…”
Time ticked by, and things changed. Connor applied for and was hired as a music teacher at a school. He and Josefina decided to keep their love of music alive by performing as musicians at a neighborhood cafe in the evenings.
Ben changed more than Josefina would’ve ever imagined, and he apologized for not listening to her and forcing her to follow in his footsteps. Surprisingly, Josefina did not give up on her medical degree and instead opened clinics to assist the homeless so that they had access to inexpensive and proper treatment.
Then, a few months down the line, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl whom she and Connor named Lily. When Ben went to congratulate his daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law, the young couple gasped in shock.
“Dad, what have you done?” Josefina cried.
Ben’s arm bore a tattoo of a tiny lily. The once-conservative father had transformed into a dedicated, loving grandfather.
What can we learn from this story?
When you look past a person’s outward appearance, you learn to appreciate them for their heart. Ben judged Connor and was confident he’d never keep Josefina happy. But he realized he was wrong after getting to know the young man.
While we want the best for our children as parents, we must also consider their desires and wishes. In the end, Ben realizes his daughter’s happiness is all that matters to him, and he decides to change himself.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.