Carlos lived alone after his wife died in a traffic accident. Unfortunately, he also lost his son soon after and had no one to call family.
The businessman sold his company to lead a life away from the chaos, mainly because he saw no point in continuing his work after the death of his only son. He had a big house and a lot of money, but he felt lonely and sad.
One morning, Carlos was reading his newspaper when he heard his neighbor, Mrs. Francis, yelling at someone. He went to the front door and opened it to see what was going on, and saw a neatly dressed boy standing in front of Mrs. Francis’ door.
«Please, ma’am,» the boy pleaded with her. «I need the money. I’m not lying.»
«Who are you trying to fool? You don’t look like someone who needs to beg for a living. So I’m not going to give you money. Do you understand?» replied Mrs. Francis.
«No, no, you don’t understand,» she said. «Please help me!».
«I’m not going to believe your story, okay?» Francis told him firmly. «I know kids do all kinds of bad things these days, and I’m sure you’re one of them, and that’s why you need the money. Go away and don’t ever come back here again,» he shouted at him.
Carlos saw the boy lower his head and his face looked sad. He agreed with Mrs. Francis that the boy didn’t look desperately in need of money because of how nicely he was dressed, but Carlos didn’t want to judge him without knowing the whole story, so he called out to him.
«Hi! Can I help you?» he asked from the doorway of his house.
Suddenly, the boy raised his head and smiled. He immediately walked over to Carlos’ house.
«Yes, sir! I go door to door asking for donations to pay for my mother’s operation. But your neighbor doesn’t believe me. She thinks I’m skipping school to ask for money. I promise I won’t waste it! Can you help me?» he asked.
«But she»s not wrong about school, aren»t you supposed to be in class at this time? By the way, you can call me Carlos,» the old man said.
«No, sir… I mean, Carlos, it’s our summer vacation.»
«Oh, really?» Carlos paused briefly.
«I’ve been trying to look for work, but everyone says I’m too young to work. My mother needs to have surgery soon, so I’ve started raising money for her. I plan to give her the money on her birthday, which is next week, so she can be happy and healthy soon.»
«Well, how about working for me, what do you think?» he asked her.
«Really? You’re really going to hire me? Wow, what do I have to do?» he replied excitedly.
«It’s simple. All you have to do is help me around the house a little bit, get food for me, and you know, be my friend for a while because this old man is lonely. Is that okay with you? And in return, I’ll pay you? By the way, what’s your name?»
«I’m Jorge,» the boy replied, smiling. «And I accept the job offer, Carlos! So where do I start?»
«How about you bring me some food for the day, and we’ll think about the rest later?».
«Okay! Thanks, Carlos. I’ll be your best employee,» he smiled.
From that moment on, Jorge went to Carlos’ house every day to help him. Over time they became great friends, sharing stories about their lives and having tea in the afternoons.
When the week was over, Carlos visited Jorge’s mother, Sara, at her home. He brought her a cake and handed her a check to cover the entire operation. The woman, who was lying on a bed, couldn’t stop crying knowing that her son had worked during the vacations to earn it.
«Thank you so much, Carlos,» she said, her eyes filling with tears. «But I don’t think Jorge has helped you enough to deserve such a large amount!».
«That’s all right, Sara,» he replied with a smile. «Your son helped me a lot, and I consider that you deserve it. Please accept, I insist.»
«Thank you so much!» replied Sara, tears now streaming down her cheeks.
That day, after Sara cut the cake, Carlos spent some time at her house and she revealed to him that she was a single mother who had recently moved to the city and didn’t know anyone to ask for help.
She also told him that Jorge was only three years old when his father abandoned them, so she had to work in a factory.
Unfortunately, she was laid off after suffering an accident there and injuring her legs. That’s when she decided to move to a place where the cost of living was much less.
«It’s horrible. I hope things get back to normal. And please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you,» Carlos said.
«You’ve done enough for us, Carlos,» Sara replied. «Thank you!»
The next day, Sara went to the hospital and scheduled the operation. While she recovered, Carlos and Jorge visited her frequently and cared for her together.
When she was discharged, Sara often stopped by the old man’s house to help him so he wouldn’t feel alone. For Carlos, Jorge and Sara had become the family he had lost several years ago. That is why, when he died, he left them everything he owned along with a letter that read:
«To me you were no more than acquaintances, but you were by my side as if you were family. I will always be indebted to you for that. Love, Carlos.»