Jack’s life changed completely when his son Toby drowned. After the boy’s death, his wife divorced him and took his other son away from him, and Jack said nothing.
The pilot never fought for custody of his other son because he blamed himself for everything. While his wife was visiting her parents, he had taken his children to the beach. He had left them alone for a few minutes to bring them hot dogs. If he hadn’t, his son would still be alive. He had tried to save Toby, but it was too late.
Alone and without the love of a family, Jack became a machine. All he did was work, eat and sleep. He had no idea how his life would change when he came across an abandoned baby at the airport.
That day, Jack was walking past the VIP lounge at the airport when he heard a loud cry and stopped. When he looked around, he was surprised to see an infant alone in a stroller crying.
Jack walked up to the boy and said, “Hey champ, it’s okay. You’re going to be just fine.”
But the baby wouldn’t stop crying. Jack still had a couple of hours before his flight, so he decided to stay with the little guy until someone came to pick him up. But after waiting almost 30 minutes, he got worried.
The boy had stopped crying. Jack bought him a toy at one of the airport stores to keep him entertained, but he was worried about whether the guardian or whoever was accompanying him was safe.
So Jack notified the airport authorities of the situation, but hours passed and no one came to take the baby.
“This is crazy. Inform the police,” Jack finally told the airport staff. Then, as he bent down to say goodbye to the child before leaving for his flight, he saw a note peeking out of the little boy’s pocket.
“Just a second, buddy, looks like you’ve got something in there.” Jack pulled out the note and read it.
“I’m sorry. I feel terrible for doing this as his mother, but I can’t give him a good life. I hope you can. Please love him.”
Jack realized what was happening. The boy had been abandoned by his mother at the airport.
Even Jack couldn’t explain why, but the boy reminded him of Toby. He felt as if God had given him another chance to be with his late son. Maybe they needed each other.
So six months later, after the boy’s family could not be located, Jack adopted the boy and named him Terry. The little boy grew to love Jack as a father.
Having Terry in his life allowed Jack to break free from his loneliness and give his life meaning. He never tried to hide from Terry that he had been adopted after being abandoned at the airport.
“You gave me a home full of love, Dad,” he used to always say. “You are my family. I don’t care if you’re my biological father or not.”
Twenty years later, an adult Terry followed in Jack’s footsteps and became a pilot. Father and son had the incredible opportunity to fly the plane together on Terry’s birthday, and they couldn’t have been happier.
“It’s the best day of my life, Dad!” exclaimed Terry as the plane was thousands of feet above sea level. “I’m doing what I love and I have the best person in my life with me!”.
At that moment, Jack and Terry could never have imagined what was in store for them. As the flight landed, a woman in dirty clothes burst into the cabin despite the crew’s efforts to stop her.
“I’ve been waiting 20 years for you!” the woman shouted, her eyes fixed on Terry. She walked over to him and whispered in his ear:
“I know you have a birthmark on your back. Only a mother would know, honey, I AM YOUR MOTHER!”.
“Ma’am, please, you can’t come in here!” the stewardess shouted. “Go away, please!”.
But Terry stopped her. “No, wait,” he told her. “Please take care of the other passengers getting off. I’ll talk to her.”
When the woman, Terry and Jack were left alone in the cabin, Terry looked at Jack and said:
“Dad, I think that’s my mother.”
“I’m your mother, yes,” said the woman. “I left you that note, remember?”.
“Then why are you here?” asked Jack. “I hope you’re not here for the drama of returning my son to you!”.
“I don’t care why she’s here, Dad,” Terry said. “She’s hurt me enough. I don’t want to be related to her in any way. So let me be very clear. I don’t care why you’re here,” he told the woman, “but this man standing next to me is my only family. He’s my father, and I’m not leaving him for anyone!”.
The woman’s eyes watered.
“Regret,” she whispered. “Regret is what I have. I’m Edith, by the way. I just want you to know I wasn’t a bad mother. I was forced to do what I did, son. I really was…,” she said as she began to narrate her story.
“You were the brightest star in my dark sky when I had you, sweetheart. Your father didn’t want you and abandoned me to my fate when I became pregnant. I was determined to give birth to you, and I did. But life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan, does it?”
“I couldn’t find a job, even though I tried over and over again. I didn’t want you to suffer, so I had to leave you. I’m glad you didn’t miss out on love. Now, I’m not saying this because I want you to feel bad or anything, but I only have a few months to live. Brain tumor, the doctors said. I wanted to apologize to my son before I died.”
“I’m sorry for what I did, honey,” she continued. “I’m so sorry. I hope you forgive your mother. I was always by your side, watching you from afar. I’m sorry I didn’t have the courage to come up to you and hug you. I’m sorry.”
Edith was crying like a little girl when she felt a warm hug around her shoulder. It was Terry.
“Parents are more than just people who want the best for their children. They are really present in their children’s lives, to make it better. So I can’t say this is all easy for me,” he said. “But I’m glad to know you don’t hate me. We can do this, Mom. We’ll get you treated, okay? Even if I need time to process it all, I want you to know that I forgive you.”
Jack couldn’t have been prouder. He admired what Terry was doing. He even helped with Edith’s treatment, but sadly, a few months later, Edith passed away.
Terry held her hands when she died, and the last thing she said to him was, “I’ve always loved you, son. I really have. But the man who raised you is a better father than I am.”