A man is abandoned by the stepson he raised as his own after his wife died, and is unexpectedly rescued by a kind young man.
Do you believe in karma? Bob Marlowe didn’t. He lived his life and made his decisions with no thought for anyone except himself. What he wanted was what was right, no matter the cost to everyone else.
Bob never imagined that his attitude would reverberate down the years until he found himself standing by the side of a lonely road watching his only family drive away, leaving him alone, abandoned.
The man driving away from Bob was Sam Devlin, his stepson, the boy he’d raised as his own and loved with all his heart from the time he was five years old. Back then, Bob had been on the verge of marriage when he’d met Sam’s mother, Adele.
Adele had been beautiful, charming, exciting, and Bob had walked out on his fiancée without an explanation. He left his old life behind like a dirty shirt and married the wealthy Adele.
For thirty years Bob and Adele had been happy. They traveled around the world living a life of luxury in the inheritance she had received on the death of her wealthy old husband — Sam’s father.
Bob thought they had been a happy family until Adele had become very ill. Unfortunately, not all the money in the world could save her from the terrible cancer that burned through her frail body.
When they lowered Adele’s coffin into the ground, Bob had stood by the graveside, shaking. “My love,” he whispered, “I will never forget you, never! And I promise you I will look after Sam.”
But unfortunately for Bob, Sam had made no such promises. A few days after Adele’s death, her lawyer called Bob and Sam and explained that she hadn’t left a will, and the estate would be in Sam’s hands provisionally.
Be careful of the examples you give the young because they will surely follow them.
“Until we can ascertain Bob’s rights, Sam,” the lawyer explained. “Since the bulk of the estate was left by your father…”
Sam had smiled. “Of course…That seems very fair to me, and Bob, you can be sure I’ll be fair.” Bob smiled and thanked Sam for his kindness, never imagining the true intention behind his words.
That weekend, Sam invited Bob to go for a drive out in the country to get some fresh air. “Bob,” he said. “We need to get rid of the cobwebs before we can start a new life!”
The two had driven off in Sam’s convertible and Bob had noticed that his stepson was uncharacteristically quiet, even though he smiled a lot, and looked amused.
When they were outside the city limits, Sam stopped the car. “Get out,” he said. “Get out now.”
“Sam?” asked Bob, bewildered. “What’s going on?”
“As I told you, I’m getting rid of the cobwebs, starting a new life,” Sam said with a nasty little smile. “And you’re dead weight, old man.”
“But…I promised your mother I’d look out for you…” Bob gasped.
“But I never made her any promises,” his stepson said. “I don’t owe YOU anything. You lived off her for thirty years, that’s long enough, don’t you think?”
“I love you!” whispered Bob with tears in his eyes. “You were like a son to me, I thought you cared for me!”
“Care?” asked Sam. “What I care about is all that money and I’m not about to share it with you. It’s MY money, old man, so get lost!”
Sam made a threatening gesture and Bob stumbled out of the car trembling. He stood and watched as Sam’s car vanished in a dwindling cloud of dust.
He looked around. The emptiness stretched out in all directions from horizon to horizon, and he had nothing except his walking stick. He started wobbling after Sam’s car, thinking that sooner or later he’d come across a house, or be overtaken by another vehicle.
Surely someone would be kind enough to stop for an old man? But car after car sped by, and no one stopped. After a while, Bob stopped trying to flag them down. He just stopped where he was.
The sun was going down and it was getting very cold when a large expensive-looking car stopped next to him. “Sir,” asked a kindly voice. “Are you alright?”
Bob felt tears fill his eyes at the sound of the concern in that stranger’s voice. “No,” he said shakily. “I’ve been abandoned here. Please, if you could take me to the nearest town, a police station? If it’s not too much trouble!”
“Abandoned?” the man sounded shocked. “That’s shocking! Please get in.”
The driver was a young man in his early thirties with a friendly smile and kindly blue eyes. He reminded Bob of someone, but he couldn’t remember who it was. Bob told the man, whose name was Jake Kale his whole story.
Jake was indignant, and when he saw that Bob was shaking from the cold, he decided to take him home. “I’ll take you to the police tomorrow morning, Bob,” he said. “Tonight you get warm and have a good meal and a restful sleep.”
Jake led Bob into a lovely cozy home and introduced him to his wife Angela and his daughter Faye. “My mother is joining us for dinner, Bob,” Jake said. As he was speaking, a cheerful voice called out a greeting and a sweet-faced woman in her sixties walked in.
She had Jake’s eyes, Bob noticed, and once again he had the eery feeling that he knew her from somewhere, but where? Bob was stunned when the woman turned and saw him standing there. She cried out, and Jake had to grab her before she fell.
“Mom!” Jake cried, “Are you OK?”
“That man…” gasped Peggy Kale. “Bob…It’s you!”
“It’s MY money, old man, so get lost!” |
“I’m Bob,” said Bob bewildered, “But how did you know?” Then he saw the years fall away from that sweet face. “Peggy! After all these years!”
“How did you get here? How did you find us?” Peggy asked.
Bob shook his head. “It was Jake who found me, rescued me. I was abandoned on the road. He picked me up. He’s your son?”
“Yes,” Peggy said quietly. “My son…and yours.”
“Mine?” whispered Bob. “You were pregnant? You didn’t tell me!”
“You walked away a week before our wedding,” Peggy said. “I didn’t know then — and later it didn’t seem to matter. You didn’t want me, and I wasn’t going to use my baby to pressure you.”
Bob lowered his head and cried bitter tears. “I raised Adele’s son!” he whispered. “You knew that?”
And as Peggy nodded, Bob continued bitterly: “It was Adele’s boy — whom I thought was my boy, who abandoned me by the side of the road like a stray dog.
Peggy smiled. “And it was my son who saved you…Think about that, Bob!”
Bob did. He spent the night tossing and turning, thinking about the choices he’d made, the examples he’d given Sam. He’d raised a selfish, grasping, dishonest man, and Peggy had raised a good, generous one.
The next day, Jake took Bob to a police station and lodged a complaint against Sam. Jake got Bob a good lawyer and the courts awarded Bob half of Adele’s substantial estate.
Shortly after the court’s decision, Bob signed over every cent to his son Jake, and to his granddaughter. He begged Peggy’s forgiveness and he is now working hard at making it up to his son and his ex-fiancée.
What can we learn from this story?
Be careful of the examples you give the young because they will surely follow them. Bob was a selfish man, and that was the example he gave his stepson.
Fate will bring you face to face with your greatest mistakes so you can make amends. The man who rescued Bob was his biological son whom he had apparently abandoned before he was born.
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