Logan couldn’t afford to be late.
While the other kids were huddled outside the high school campus, discussing their hobbies, Logan walked past them, trying to make it to the local pharmacy on time.
“I can’t let Mom go another day without her medicine. She thinks I haven’t noticed, but her health has gotten worse.”
Lately, Hannah had been weaker than usual. She had recently gotten a promotion at the grocery store, but her small pay raise was nothing compared to all the stress she was dealing with.
Hannah’s feet had swollen, and her diabetes medication had been finished for a week. But as moms often do, she neglected her condition to put her son Logan first.
Logan was a bright student who was described by his peers as “boring,” but his teachers said he had “Harvard-like” potential. He never took his good grades for granted, nor did he avoid sports and extracurricular activities.
Logan made the decision to do everything he could to get a scholarship to a good university. But nothing was more important to the 17-year-old than supporting his mother.
He delivered newspapers every morning at 6 a.m., and after school he worked as a bagboy at the local grocery store.
Together, Logan and Hannah made ends meet while struggling to achieve bigger dreams.
“Buy Mom’s medicine, done!”
Logan checked that item off his mental checklist. He had arrived at the store just in time and could finally stop for a few sips of water before heading to the grocery store to begin his shift.
Just outside the store, he spotted a familiar face.
“Mr. Peters!” Logan called out to the old man holding crutches, who was his neighbor.
Mr. Peters turned to see who had recognized him.
“Ah, it’s the boy next door. God, I hope he doesn’t come over and start a pointless conversation,” the old man thought as he greeted Logan with a half-hearted smile.
Mr. Peters wasn’t always so cynical, but he’s become that way since living a solitary life after the death of his beloved wife years ago.
“Mr. Peters, it’s a pleasure to see you. Come on in, let me help you with your shopping today,” Logan offered.
The old man seemed confused. Why would someone offer to help a stranger he had only seen a few times in his life?
Logan cheerfully helped the old man find what he needed. He also helped him bill for his items.
“That will be $23, Mr. Peters,” Logan said.
The old man was surprised by the amount of the bill, but he tried not to look embarrassed. Then he hastened to ask:
“And how much without the fruit?”
“Nineteen dollars, sir.”
“I see.” Mr. Peters looked in his wallet, counting the few bills and coins it contained. After some thought, he said:
“Actually, I’ll just take the vegetables, thank you.”
“You know what? Let me help you out. You seem to have… forgotten your card at home or something. It’s no big deal, it happens to the best of us. Here, let me pay for your order.”
In fact, Logan had been watching Mr. Peters, and he could see from the man’s old jacket and tattered wallet that he was going through a difficult financial time.
Mr. Peters was not expecting this gesture of kindness, and even though it hurt his pride a little, he accepted the boy’s help.
So Logan paid the bill and handed the bags to the old man. But Mr. Peters could only take a few steps forward to pick up his heavy groceries while trying to keep his balance on his crutches.
Logan took a moment to check the time and hurried over to Mr. Peters.
“Hold on, sir. Let me help you carry these provisions home. Anyway, I have a little time before I go on duty.”
“Are you sure, young man?”
“Sure, it’s a pleasure.”
The drive to Mr. Peters’ house was a short one, but the two men traveled it chatting on many different topics.
“Why are you working in a grocery store? It seems to me you should be in college!” asked Mr. Peters.
As he listened to Logan’s story and his many unsuccessful attempts to get a scholarship, Mr. Peters was moved. There was also something he wanted to share with Logan, but he noticed the boy was somewhat distracted as he regularly checked his watch.
“It was a pleasure to meet you, Logan. And thank you for being so kind in helping me with the groceries. I had no idea such a bright young man lived next door to me!”
“Can you do me another favor? After your shift at the store, I’d like you to stop by my house,” said Mr. Peters.
Logan agreed, thinking the man needed help around the house.
After work and despite being tired, Logan knocked on his neighbor’s door as promised, wondering if he had the energy to help him. Upon entering, he discovered something very surprising about the old man.
In the center of the living room was a long glass shelf filled with rows of trophies, medals and memorabilia.
“These are all…yours?” Logan was mesmerized by the sight of the carefully organized awards.
“Yes, they are. You see, I was a professor and head of the physics department at a prestigious university.”
Logan was speechless as he realized he was in the presence of a respected academic.
“But I didn’t call you to brag, young man,” Peters smiled.
“I talked to some of my former colleagues, who are now members of the university’s board of trustees. I told them about a bright young man I ran into today and asked them to look for a scholarship application for him.”
Logan was overjoyed when he heard these words. With tears in his eyes, he searched in vain for words to thank Mr. Peters.
“It’s not going to be that easy to get this scholarship. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, I’m willing to help you with everything I know.”
“Sure, yes, thank you! Thank you, Mr. Peters. You have no idea what this means to me…”
“You can thank me when you get that scholarship. For now, go home and get some rest. Starting tomorrow, I’ll need you here every day at 6:00 a.m. sharp. Not a minute late. Okay?”
Logan looked at his watch again, already counting down the minutes to his first session with his new teacher.
Over the next few months, Logan worked twice as hard at his studies and followed all of Mr. Peters’ advice. He slept less and didn’t forget to check on his mother.
Hannah made sure that both men were well fed. She also asked for the pay raise she deserved at work so Logan could quit his job and focus on his scholarship application.
Until one day, Logan received a letter from his dream university. He sat down with his mother and Mr. Peters to open the envelope and burst into tears after reading the letter.
They were tears of joy. Logan had received the university’s most prestigious presidential scholarship.
Logan excelled in college as he had in high school, Hannah’s health improved, and Mr. Peters felt like part of a family again.