An elderly widow offers to pay for a poor man’s groceries, but things take an unexpected turn when she examines his face closely and realizes he resembles her late husband!
It was a cold wintry morning in Sunnyvale, California when Dorothy Baker left her house for a trip to a nearby grocery store.
Dorothy, who is 85 years old, had recently lost her husband, Edward. The man was an archeologist who was usually away from home for work, and on the day Dorothy found out he’d died, he’d said he’d be late from work. Little did the woman know he’d never return.
Edward wasn’t a great man by nature because he was impatient and had a bad temper, but thanks to Dorothy’s sweet demeanor, the couple had managed to keep their relationship harmonious despite being childless.
Dorothy couldn’t have children and had suggested to Edward that they adopt and raise them as their own, but the man was adamant about raising his blood, so they decided that just the two of them would suffice.
As a result, Dorothy was devastated when Edward died of a heart attack. Edward was the only one she had in the entire world, and after his death, their home was always silent and sad.
“Perhaps I should have been more adamant about adopting children. At the very least, I wouldn’t feel so alone,” the elderly woman often reflected.
Dorothy didn’t eat for several days after Edward left for his heavenly home. She’d been so depressed about losing him that she never left her room. But one day, when she was feeling extremely weak and tired, she decided to cook for herself.
Unfortunately, a quick glance in the fridge revealed that the groceries had run out, and she’d need to go to the store.
Dorothy took an Uber because she was too tired to walk and arrived at Rancher’s Daily Store a few minutes later. The woman dashed inside to the milk carton aisle when she overheard a man conversing with his children.
“I’m sorry, Mark,” the man said. “Daddy promises that he’ll get you chocolates the next time.”
“No, daddy!” retorted his son. “You’re lying! You said that Mommy would return, but she never did. How long will she stay with the angel?”
Oh, dear! The boy lost his mother!
Dorothy’s heart skipped a beat as she pondered how she’d also lost someone close to her. She peered from the aisle and saw a man surrounded by 3 kids. Two of them were holding his hands, and the third, who she assumed had complained about the chocolates, was standing opposite his father.
“See Mark,” the man explained once more. “Right now, I don’t have enough money. Would you like Harry and Tina to go to bed hungry? You’re a good boy. Please understand.”
“But you always say the same thing, dad,” the boy remarked as he lowered his head. “How come we don’t have any money? Could I please ask Paul for some money? He’s my friend, and he’s not going to say no.”
The man knelt and hugged his son at this point. “You don’t need to do that, Mark. Everything will be fine once Daddy finds a good job. I’m sorry.”
Dorothy couldn’t help herself when she saw the man struggling like that. She filled a bag of groceries intending to purchase them for the man, but he had already left. She looked around for him, but he wasn’t there.
Dejected, she returned some of the groceries to the shelf and proceeded to the cashier. Just then, she noticed the man there. He was talking to the cashier when Dorothy approached him.
“I’m sorry, sir, but you’re short $5. I’ll have to take a few things out,” the cashier told him.
“Look, I understand….”
The man had started speaking when Dorothy cut him off. “It’s all right. He’s with me. You can take it from my card,” she said, approaching the cashier.
The man paused. “Oh no, ma’am, it’s fine. I’m sorry, but I can’t take your money.”
“It’s fine. You don’t have to pay me back,” Dorothy said as she turned around to face him, her gaze drawn to the birthmark above his upper lip. Oh, dear! she gasped after a brief glance at his face. He looked exactly like Edward!
“Thanks for the payment, ma’am. Could you please move now? Other customers are awaiting their turn.” The cashier’s words interrupted Dorothy’s thoughts.
“Ma’am, are you all right? We have to leave,” the man said, and Dorothy nodded.
As they walked out of the store, the man introduced himself as Charles and Dorothy gave him her name. They spoke for a while, and then he thanked her for her assistance. “I can’t return your money right now, but please come to my house someday. I make really good coffee.”
“Sure,” Dorothy replied, smiling back. The man gave her his address before walking away.
Dorothy’s mind was fixated on him. How did he look so similar to Edward? Edward never had any siblings! Is he…? Dorothy’s mind was now slowly shaping the possibility that her beloved husband could have fathered a child outside their marriage, but her heart said that wasn’t possible. Sure, Edward wasn’t the best man in the world, but he would never cheat on me! the woman thought.
However, whenever she tried to sleep at home, her mind raced back to how Charles had smiled at her. He looked so much like Edward! So the following day, she decided to meet him and clear her suspicions.
She booked a cab and a few hours later, she found herself at a small house in a deserted neighborhood. She took a deep breath and knocked on the door. It opened a few minutes later, and Charles emerged from inside.
“Oh, hello! Come on in! You arrived at the perfect time. I was just about to make some coffee!”
“Oh,” Dorothy hesitated. “Are your kids home?”
“No, they left for school a while ago. Please come.”
As Dorothy stepped inside, she saw the house was in disarray. The kids’ clothes were strewn about the room, and dirty dishes were scattered on the table.
“Please don’t mind the mess, ma’am,” Charles said, embarrassed. “Being a single dad is not really easy. Please have a seat. I’ll get you a cup of coffee.”
“There’s no need for that, Charles,” Dorothy said firmly. “I’m actually here to talk about something that’s been keeping me up lately.”
“Is everything all right?” Charles asked, concerned.
“Everything is fine. But….”
“Look, Charles, don’t take it the wrong way, but you look a lot like my late husband. And you have the same birthmark on your upper lip as he does. Do you recognize this man?” Dorothy asked, her voice trembling as she showed Edward’s photograph.
Charles’ eyes widened. “That’s my father. But I only recently learned about it.”
“What?” Dorothy couldn’t believe her ears!
“Yes. I was raised in an orphanage after my parents abandoned me. I’ve been looking for my biological parents, but the orphanage director never provided me with any information. A few days ago, I managed to sneak in and read the file where I saw his photo. It’s heartbreaking that he’s no longer alive.”
“And what about your mother?” Dorothy asked, her eyes welling up.
“Unfortunately, my mother’s information was missing,” Charles said. “But I knew my father was alive. Due to my hectic schedule, I didn’t have time to track him down, and now you’ve just told me he’s gone. My wife always said one day I’d find my parents. She was right, but it’s too late.” Charles’ eyes welled up as he finished.
Dorothy’s heart sank. Edward had cheated on her and he never told her he had a son. She couldn’t help wondering if that was the reason he refused to adopt a child with her. Dorothy dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief and asked, “If you don’t mind, Charles, could I please ask you for a favor?”
“I had no idea Edward had a son, and I’ve been very lonely since he left. Will it be okay if I come over once in a while to spend time with your children?”
“Of course, ma’am,” Charles said. “They’d be more than happy to meet you. Things have not been easy for any of us since my wife’s death. I’m sorry you had to learn everything this way. You must be struggling as well.”
Yes, it wasn’t easy for Dorothy. She had a difficult time accepting that her husband had a child outside their marriage, but she would soon realize Charles’ children would help her move on in life. She’d decided to help them the day she saw them in the grocery store. After all, they’d lost someone they cared about, just as she had lost Edward. And that day marked a change in both Charles and Dorothy’s lives.
Dorothy was sorry for what her husband did. But that didn’t keep her from inviting Charles and his kids to live with her because he was struggling to make ends meet to pay his rent. She was more than happy to become a granny to Charles’ kids and later leave all her inheritance to Charles.
Meanwhile, Charles, who was a writer, eventually wrote a novel about a man who had never met his mother or father but found a mother when he had lost all hope. He became famous as a result of this book and was able to provide a good education for his children.
What can we learn from this story?
Life is full of unexpected turns and twists. Dorothy had no idea she’d end up discovering a huge secret about her husband when she went grocery shopping.
There’s a reason behind every one we meet. Dorothy met Charles because she was fated to learn the truth her husband had kept hidden all along.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about an orphan boy who waits for his mother at a bus stop until a woman gets off the bus and offers him help.