Peter was lying on the couch, exhausted. He had pieces of freshly cut grass stuck to his pants, as he had just returned home from mowing his neighbor’s lawn.
“Do you have to do this, son? I feel so bad when I see you work so hard for me,” his mother, Erin, cried. “I wish insurance would cover everything, but….”.
Peter ignored his widowed mother. He had been mowing his neighbor’s lawn for $10 to save enough money for her heart surgery. After all, she was all he had.
The 15-year-old boy’s life had never been like this, at least not when his grandmother Merlina was around. Peter and his mother moved into Merlina’s house about 10 years ago, after his father was killed by a motorcycle.
Peter loved his grandmother and grew up under her wisdom and care. Erin worked at a local leather factory, but stopped going when her health deteriorated.
The family lived a middle-class life without qualms, but soon, their joy ended with Merlina’s untimely death three years earlier.
“What’s that in your hand?” asked Erin to Peter a week after Merlina’s funeral. “Show it to me.”
“It’s Grandma’s ring…. She gave it to me saying it was valuable and told me to keep it for the woman I loved,” Peter said, showing her the stone-studded ring.
“Oh, Mom never told me about it. Well keep it safe for the woman you love,” Erin said, encouraging him.
Things slowly began to return to normal after Merlina’s death. Three years had passed since her passing, and life became busier for Erin, who began working as a waitress to make ends meet. But one day, Peter received a call from the restaurant where his mother worked to inform him of an emergency.
“Yes, we admitted her to the hospital. She was attending to a client when she grabbed her chest and collapsed.”
Peter rushed to the hospital, where a news from the doctor startled him.
“…No, doctor, my mother has only me, no one else. What’s wrong?” asked Peter, tears slowly filling his anxious eyes.
“Your mother needs immediate heart surgery. It would cost about $70,000,” the doctor replied, redoubling Peter’s agony. “She’ll be discharged in two days, but she has to have the operation in two months.”
“Seventy thousand dollars?” exclaimed Peter.
“Yes, the sooner she has the operation, the better.”
Peter sank into despair as he sat back in the chair, his face buried in his palms.
“What will I do to get so much money?”.
Erin was discharged and stopped going to work. Peter skipped basketball practice after school to look for part-time jobs. Since he was only 15 years old, no one would hire him for any full-time position. However, he didn’t give up hope and did odd jobs in his neighbourhood, such as mowing lawns, babysitting and dog walking.
He came home every day, exhausted, stuffing his earnings into a box. He had no time to do his homework, and he was working as hard as he could in his race against the clock to save his mother.
With only 5 days left before his mother’s operation, Peter had only managed to earn $700. He cried as he looked at the calendar.
“Where am I going to get that kind of money?”
Just then, he remembered his grandmother’s words.
“For the woman I love…” he exclaimed, running to his wardrobe, where he had kept the precious ring he had inherited from his late grandmother.
Peter looked at the dazzling stone-studded ring, unaware of its value.
“She told me to keep it for the woman I love. Mom is the woman I love. Grandma, thank you so much… I will sell this ring!”
He snapped his fingers and quickly snapped a few photos of the jewelry on his phone, posting them with his contact information on an online marketplace.
A couple of hours later, he received a call from an unknown number and, moments later, a stranger knocked on his door.
“Peter?” the man asked.
“Yes, it’s me. I was the one you spoke to on the call. Nice to meet you.”
“Mark,” the man said, reaching out for a warm handshake. “Pleased to meet you, may I see the ring?”.
“Sure, here,” Peter said, handing the man a small jewelry box.
“That’s amazing! Are you sure you want to sell this ring?” asked Mark, surprised after seeing it.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Peter replied.
Mark looked at the ring and finally proposed a life-changing deal that Peter hadn’t expected.
“$100,000… Is that okay with you?”
“What, $100,000? Are you serious?” Peter exclaimed.
He had underestimated the true value of the ring, thinking he would only get a few thousand for it.
“Well, yes, $100,000. It’s a very rare diamond ring. The cut is flawless and it’s almost impossible to get something like that these days because it’s a classic beauty from the past,” said Mark, curious as to why Peter would part with it.
Peter told his story and Mark was moved to tears.
“…My grandmother gave it to me to keep for the woman I love. I love my mother and I want to save her life,” he concluded.
“Well, then the deal is sealed. Here’s your money,” Mark said, handing him a check.
Peter took his grandmother’s treasured ring next to his heart. He took the check cheerfully and said goodbye to Mark. His mother came home from shopping and was startled to see him with the check in his hand in the living room. Peter explained how he had gotten it and she was furious.
“You sold Grandma’s ring? Peter, how could you do that?” his mother raged.
“But Mom, I love you. She told me to save it for the woman I love, and you are that woman. It’s for your operation. Please accept it, because I feel it’s what Grandma wanted me to do.”
Erin agreed with a heavy heart. She was admitted to hospital the next day.
That afternoon, Peter came home from school to tidy up before visiting his mother and saw something in the letterbox.
“What is it?” – he muttered and went over to have a look.
But he was immediately startled when he saw the ring he had sold the day before. It had a note attached. It was from Mark, the wealthy businessman he had sold the ring to. It said:
Son, I am proud of you and wish I had a son like you.
I too had a grandmother whom I loved very much when I was young. But we were not rich then and did not have enough money to save her life after a tragic accident. So I’ve worked hard to get where I am and to make sure I don’t lose anyone else I love because I didn’t have the means to save them.
I am sure you did the right thing by sacrificing your late grandmother’s ring for the woman you love. However, you deserve to keep this ring because you have a kind heart.Don’t worry about the money. You can keep it too. Use it to build your future. By helping you, I would like to believe that I am also honouring my late grandmother.
Peter was delighted to read the letter. He rang Mark to thank him.
“Ah, that’s all right, son. I’m glad I could help you,” Mark replied. “I’m sure we’ll meet again sometime, and I’m sure I’ll see a young achiever!
Feeling warm and light-hearted, Peter visited his mother in hospital, where he found a bouquet of flowers by her bed with a “get well soon” card. It was from Mark again.Peter sighed and prayed for his mother’s speedy recovery so that he could tell her the good news. In the meantime, only time would tell how far he would go to be as prosperous as Mark had hoped for him.