Peter sighed in frustration as he looked around for free transportation and ended up sitting on the sidewalk. It was hotter than usual that day, and after walking for a day with few breaks, he had realized that getting around on foot was not a good idea.
Peter and his wife, Wendy, had their first child, Liam, three months ago. During this time, Wendy quit her job and decided to focus on being a mother, so Peter became the sole breadwinner for the family. His salary at work was not very high, and most of their savings had been depleted by hospital bills. For this reason, Peter chose to walk to his destination to save money.
Peter’s mother, Mrs. Johnson, was very eager to see her grandson, but because she was in a wheelchair, she could not make the entire trip from her town to Peter’s.
After thinking about it, Peter then solved the problem and decided to walk to her house because he didn’t want to spend more money. He still took all the supplies and essentials to make sure Liam had a comfortable trip. However, things were not so simple…
“This could take you days, honey!”, Wendy warned him. “We can wait a little while and maybe visit your mother later.”
Peter, however, disagreed.
“She’s been looking forward to this day forever, Wendy. I can’t take that happiness away from her. I have to visit her. Don’t worry, everything will be fine!”
But now, as he sat on the hot sidewalk with Liam napping peacefully in his stroller, Peter was regretting his decision. He was wondering if he should go home when, by chance, a car pulled up in front of him.
“Can I help you?” the driver asked as he rolled down his car window, and Peter’s happiness knew no bounds.
“Yes! Please! I’m visiting my mom, but…” he hesitated. “I know this sounds crazy, but I was planning to walk to her house so I wouldn’t spend money on transportation. My wife and I just had a baby, and you know how hard it is for poor people like us…”
The driver raised an eyebrow.
“So you’re a hitchhiker! Crazy idea to save money in this inflation, buddy. Where does your mother live?”
Peter gave him the address, and the man carefully nodded.
“All right! Come on up! Normally I wouldn’t offer a stranger a ride in my car, but it’s pretty hot and bad for the baby. However, let me tell you in advance that I will not be able to take you all the way. I’ll take another route past the main pass before town, okay?”
“That’s fine! Thank you!” said Peter gratefully. “Thank you!”
By the time the nice man dropped Peter off at the big intersection, Liam had started crying, and it was time to feed him, so Peter stopped in front of a store and fed him before continuing his journey.
“Just a few more hours and I’ll finally be at Mom’s,” he thought. But Peter was so exhausted that his legs gave out on him only an hour into his walk. He couldn’t force himself to walk any further and passed out in a park.
When Peter woke up, the sun was shining and Liam was fast asleep. He looked at his wristwatch and calculated that if he resumed his walk, he would arrive at his mother’s house by noon.
Excited to surprise her, Peter resumed his journey until Liam began to cry again and they had to stop so that the father could change his son’s diapers and feed him again. Then they continued their journey and in the afternoon they arrived at his mother’s house.
Peter rushed to the front porch and happily rang the doorbell. He waited a few minutes, but there was no answer. He rang the bell again. Still no answer.
“Mom!” he finally cried, knocking loudly on the door. “Please open the door! It’s me, Peter!” But there was still no answer.
Wondering if something was wrong, Peter called his mother, but she didn’t pick up. He became concerned and was about to call the police when his attention was drawn to a sign in the yard that read “SOLD!” He hadn’t seen it when he arrived.
“Did she sell the house? When? And why?” Peter remained confused when he heard his mother’s neighbor, Mrs. Fisher, call out to him.
“What are you doing here, Peter? Your mother sold the house and moved out. This house is empty!”
“Empty? What do you mean?”
Peter approached her and told her why he had visited his mother, and that’s when she revealed that Mrs. Johnson was desperate to meet Liam, so she sold her house and moved out the day before.
“My son went with her to help her move to a new house near you. He’s the one who found the place so quickly!” the older woman boasted. “She probably didn’t tell you because she wanted to surprise you…”
“Good God! So I walked miles for nothing!” he said with a nervous laugh.
Mrs. Fisher was kind enough to give Peter some money to get home. He didn’t want to take it, but she insisted, so he gave in.
As he was on his way home, Wendy called him.
“Peter!” she cried. “You’re not going to believe this, but your mom…she moved to a new house a few blocks from us!”
Peter laughed. “I know, Wendy. I’m on my way home! I wish I had told Mom I was visiting! But that’s okay, I guess. I’ll remember this story all my life!”
“I told you to wait! She’s here! She said you called her, but she didn’t want to tell you. She wanted to surprise you! Your mom’s neighbor has a lovely son, by the way.”
That night, when Peter finally met up with his family, they had a great time together. They couldn’t help but laugh at how their surprises had taken a different turn. But at the end of the day, they were all together, and that’s what mattered.
Also, Peter and his mother were happy that they were now living near each other. The older woman helped him and Wendy care for Liam, so Wendy was able to return to work and their financial situation quickly improved.