A hardworking mother of four had her reputation ruined by a jealous friend who spread rumors about her. She sought justice at the courts.
Joan lost her husband, Mark, 16 years after they tied the knot. After Mark’s death, she was left alone to fend for herself and their four children: Toby, 12, April, 10, Philip, 9, and Martha, 7.
Initially, it seemed like a daunting task, but she rolled up her sleeves and set out to do everything necessary to take care of herself and her young children.
“I know it’s going to be a long road ahead, but I will do all I can to take care of myself and my kids,” Joan thought to herself.
She began a business that involved going to people’s houses with an assistant to clean up their apartment. She was so good at the business that her reputation spread throughout the neighborhood.
Thus, she attracted many more clients and earned more money to pay for her children’s school fees and provide enough for them to be very comfortable.
Besides the cleaning business, Joan also worked shifts as a cashier at a mall and a waste disposal officer. She combined these jobs to great effect and saved more money.
Joan’s house cleaning business was very successful, and she started thinking about expanding it to reach new heights. While making out expansion plans, she confided in her friend, Morya.
Morya had been Joan’s friend for a long time. However, unlike Joan, she did not have kids and had never married. Unknown to Joan, Morya was jealous of her and coveted what she had.
When Joan’s husband was alive, Morya was in love with him and made advances at him, but he never fell for it and told her off.
“The next time you try this, I will let Joan know the kind of person you are,” Mark threatened Morya.
However, Mark never told his wife about it so as not to spoil their friendship. Instead, he spoke generally and asked her not to trust people.
Everyone saw Joan as a self-made and successful woman in the neighborhood and considered her an exemplary person.
“I’ve never seen someone as hardworking as she is,” one of her neighbors said to her friend.
Joan’s growing reputation made Morya even more jealous of Joan, and she secretly wished for her downfall. Sadly, Joan never noticed her friend’s hatred and continued to confide in her.
She told Morya about her plans to expand her house cleaning business. “I’m considering employing more assistants and spreading to surrounding neighborhoods,” Joan said.
“That’s a good idea, my friend. You already have a good reputation, that should not be a problem for you,” Morya replied her friend, masking her jealousy with care.
“Hmm, I wish it was that simple,” Joan said.
“It isn’t?…what could be the problem then?” Morya queried.
“It is difficult to find someone who is 100% trustworthy because some cleaners rob their clients’ homes, you know… they steal money and other valuable items,” Joan explained to Morya.
Morya pretended to be concerned about Joan’s issue and told her she would help find trustworthy people who could join her business.
However, once she left Joan’s sight, she started spreading rumors about her. Morya told people, “Joan lost two of her clients because they lost their money after she cleaned their apartments and left.”
Bad news spreads fast, and it was no surprise when the whole neighborhood heard the rumors. Joan’s clients also heard the rumors and gradually started dropping her.
Joan was sad and wondered what she must do. She still had some clients who remained loyal to her despite the rumors, but things soon went from bad to worse.
One day, after cleaning one of her loyal customer’s homes, a $300,000 diamond ring went missing. The homeowner, influenced by the rumors, accused Joan of stealing her ring and arrested her.
“I am innocent. I didn’t steal your ring,” Joan pleaded.
“You will have to prove your innocence Joan. Come with us to the police station,” a police officer told Joan.
Joan was so sad and prayed for a miracle. She was innocent of the crime but proving her innocence would be difficult due to the lingering rumors about her integrity.
Luckily for Joan, the woman’s husband found the missing diamond ring inside a suitcase they took for their last vacation. Hence, she was acquitted of any wrongdoing.
However, despite being free of the crime she was alleged to have committed, Joan still had a setback due to how badly her reputation had been damaged.
She investigated the rumors about her and discovered that Morya was the person who spread them. Joan was shattered and wondered why someone she called her friend and confided in could do such a thing to her.
Joan was determined not to let this go and sued her friend for wrongly accusing her. Morya tried to plead her case with the judge during the court proceedings.
“They were just words, and they didn’t harm anyone,” she said. However, the judge was a wise man with many years of experience, and he decided to teach Morya a valuable lesson.
“Before you receive your sentence, write all the things you said about your friend on a piece of paper. Cut them up and on the way home, throw the pieces of paper out,” he said.
The following day at court, the judge asked Morya if she did what she was told. Morya told him she did. “Now go out and gather all the pieces of paper you threw out,” the judge ordered.
Morya was shocked. “I can’t do that!” she protested. “The wind has blown them away by now and I don’t know where to find them.”
The judge paused for a while then said, “The same way, your words may destroy the honor of a woman to such an extent that one is not able to fix it.”
At this point, Morya realized how much she had wronged Joan and could hardly look her in the eyes. She walked up to her and asked her to forgive her. The judge ruled that Morya should pay Joan a few thousand dollars as moral compensation for ruining her reputation.
Many people in the neighborhood heard about the case and felt for Joan. Gradually, she rebuilt her relationship with her clients and finally took her business to new heights.
Meanwhile, Morya learned her lesson and stopped being jealous of other people. However, she and Joan were never close as before, as the latter found it hard to trust her again.
What can we learn from this story?
Do not be jealous of other people’s success. Morya was jealous of her friend’s success, which led to her spreading rumors about her. Never be jealous of people. Instead, work hard at your endeavor, and hopefully, you will also become successful.
Never despair in the face of tribulations. Joan could easily have given up after the rumors soiled her reputation. However, she knew she was innocent and did all she could to prove it and won eventually. When in tribulations, do not despair, but keep going strong till you achieve your goals.