Mr. Jones was a farmer in rural Texas. He kept to himself and didn’t care for making friends with the residents in the area. Some people even thought he was scary and chose to stay away from him. Until one day, his actions surprised everyone in the town.
Mr. Jones was a farmer who lived alone. He spent his days tending to the animals and spent his free days fishing by himself. He didn’t enjoy having conversations with people; he thought they were almost always superficial, so he actively avoided making friends.
Being a reserved person in his community was rare. Neighbors and other residents thought there was something wrong with him. Other people were even afraid of him, including Michelle, a little girl near his farm. Michelle was a six-year-old with long blonde hair and a loud laugh. She lived with her mother, Julia, who worked in the nearby town.
Julia lost her husband two years earlier and cared for Michelle by herself because her family lived in another state. Julia and Mr. Jones barely spoke to one another but were friendly enough. They would greet each other in passing and didn’t bother to try and build a friendship. This suited Mr. Jones just fine as he preferred to spend time with his animals and fishing.
One day, as Mr. Jones walked around his property rounding up the sheep, he saw Michelle wandering her backyard by herself. It was past 8 p.m., and Julia should have been home by now. Mr. Jones became worried about Michelle and walked towards her.
Before he reached her, Michele walked into the house and turned off the lights. He knocked on the door repeatedly, but Michelle refused to open it. “My mom said I shouldn’t open for anyone!” she shouted from inside the house.
“Alright, I won’t force you to open, but if you need any help, let me know!” Mr. Jones shouted back. He walked back to his property, worried about where Julia was.
The following evening, Mr. Jones noticed the lights were off again; he walked to knock and check Michelle was home by herself again. He suddenly realized that smoke was billowing out from the kitchen window. He ran around the house and saw that the kitchen was on fire. He quickly broke the door down and called for Julia and Michelle. There was no answer.
The smoke was thick and made Mr. Jones cough; he ran through every room in the house and saw Michelle lying on the floor, unconscious. He carried her out and called for firefighters and an ambulance. The paramedics took Michelle to the hospital while he watched the firefighters do their job.
Two hours later, he drove to the hospital to check on Michelle. When he arrived, she was conscious and being treated for smoke inhalation. “How are you feeling?” Mr. Jones asked. He was worried about her and still couldn’t understand where Julia was.
“I’m feeling better,” she replied.
“Can you tell me what happened today?” he asked.
“I was trying to make eggs, but I don’t know how to. So the stove got too hot and burnt the dishrag. Then everything got too hot, and the stove started burning,” she cried.
“Don’t worry; it’s going to be okay. Where is your mother?” he asked.
Before Michelle answered, a nurse walked in to check on her. “Miss, do you know where Michelle’s mother is? I haven’t seen her in a few days,” he said.
The nurse explained that Julia had been brought to the hospital three days earlier after suffering a stroke at work.
Julia’s kitchen caught fire when her daughter Michelle tried to make food. | Source: Shutterstock
“Is she here? Can I go see her?” he asked.
The nurse walked with Mr. Jones to Julia’s ward. She explained that Julia didn’t know that Michelle was in the hospital. When he arrived, she was awake. “Mr. Jones, it’s so good to see you. What are you doing here?” she said and smiled.
“Julia, I have something to tell you, but I don’t want you to worry,” he began. “Michelle accidentally started a fire in the kitchen today trying to make food. She is here in the hospital right now being treated for smoke inhalation, but she’s wonderful; she’ll be out in no time.”
Julia was terrified. Since she suffered a stroke, she had been worried about Michelle, but she couldn’t ask anyone for help.
Mr. Jones explained that the kitchen suffered some fire damage, but he would quickly fix it. He offered to restore the kitchen and promised Julia that everything would be okay.
While Julia and Michelle were in the hospital, Mr. Jones brought them home-cooked meals and entertained them with stories from his past. They were never bored when Mr. Jones came to visit. He was a joyful man who enjoyed taking care of both of them.
The effects of the stroke on Julia meant that it would take some months before she could function optimally again. However, she would visit her daughter whenever she felt strong enough to walk to the children’s ward. Michelle quickly healed and was back to running around laughing loudly in no time.
Julia and Michelle were released from the hospital five days later. When they arrived home, they saw that Mr. Jones had fixed the kitchen entirely and cleaned out the house.
“I just wanted to make sure that you could rest when you got home,” he said.
Julia was grateful for Mr. Jones and invited him over for dinner. The three of them spent Friday evenings together playing games and enjoying Michelle’s favorite animated movies. They developed a close friendship and cared for one another when they needed it.
Michelle grew up to be a chef and lived in her hometown with her mother. When Mr. Jones died five years later, he left his farm to Julia and Michelle. “I cannot believe he left his farm to us,” Michelle said.
They continued to care for his livestock and opened an organic restaurant on the farm, and they named it “Mr. Jones’s Eatery.” They decorated the restaurant with photographs of all three of them taken during the years they spent Friday evenings together. Michelle and Julia honored Mr. Jones’s memory as often as they could.
What can we learn from this story?
Kindness can be found in unexpected places. Mr. Jones kept to himself so much that some people were afraid of him, but he showed kindness to Michelle and Julia when they needed it the most.
Adversity can give rise to beautiful experiences. When Julia suffered a stroke, she was scared of how she would care for her child, but through kindness from Mr. Jones, she could develop a lasting friendship with him.