Ethan Howe was a 13-year-old boy raised by poor parents. They made sure he was well fed, but the family lived mostly hand to mouth. That’s one reason they took family planning very seriously: they couldn’t afford to have another mouth to feed.
It was the only life Ethan knew, but he hoped that one day things might change for them. They lived in a three-bedroom bungalow that they had used as collateral for a bank loan a few months earlier.
They had spent the loan on Ethan’s mother, who had fallen victim to Covid when the virus had first spread.
It was a lot of money, but his mother survived the ordeal, which was a real relief to his family. In fact, when she finally came home from the hospital, Ethan’s father John threw a small party to welcome her back.
That night, however, the joy didn’t last long: The next day they received a letter from the bank asking them to pay off the loan or lose the house.
John tried to raise the money, but there was little he could do except ask for an extension on the loan. They had a few more months, but that was all they had.
The couple tried to hide their financial difficulties from their son, but Ethan is a very smart boy. He knows this, but he doesn’t say it, praying that everything will work out.
Ethan is not only smart, but also kind and lonely. His parents wouldn’t let him leave the house at all because they were afraid he would be bullied because of their financial situation.
“Kids can be so mean,” they thought, though really they were just ashamed of themselves.
Ethan had no friends, didn’t play sports, and was always the first to go home when the last bell rang. His classmates thought he was a weirdo and often avoided him.
They didn’t know that he was just following his parents’ instructions.
“You have to study very well to become a rich man and support your family,” his mother always told him.
“My boy will provide us with a rich pension,” his father said.
It was a very selfish attitude, but his parents didn’t think so. They believed it was their right to demand that of their boy. They believed he would change their lives-if only they knew how right they were.
One day, during summer vacation, Ethan began to hear barking from his neighbor’s house. An elderly woman lived alone in the house. They called her Carla, and she had no family.
Like Ethan, the people in the neighborhood avoided associating with her because they thought she was insensitive. Her only companion was a big dog named Rocky, and Carla spent all her time with him.
When Ethan noticed that the dog kept barking for two days in a row, he went to his father to tell him about it.
“Dad, have you noticed that the dog has been barking the whole time? I think we should find out why,” he said.
“Oh, Ethan. What could possibly be wrong with that dog? Crazy old lady must be playing with her battered dog, that’s all. Just wish the dog wouldn’t make so much noise.”
Ethan was not satisfied, but left the conversation for later. While his father was in the garage, he decided to sneak out of their house and see what was going on.
“The dog looks confused,” Ethan thought. He walked over to Carla’s house and knocked on the door, but no one answered.
Instead, the dog’s barking became louder, which piqued Ethan’s curiosity even more. Knowing that his parents could summon him at any time, he quickly walked around the house to the backyard and looked out the window.
This allowed him to peek into the living room, where he saw a woman lying motionless on the couch while her dog circled around nervously, barking.
Sensing that something was very wrong, the boy picked up a stone from the floor and broke the window to reach the door handle and unlock it. The dog heard the intrusion but did not leave the woman, confirming Ethan’s suspicions: something was wrong.
“Help me, please,” he heard the woman whisper as he entered.
It turned out that the woman had lost the use of her legs and had been lying on the couch for some time without moving or eating. Fortunately, she had a bottle of water with her.
Ethan quickly called 911 on his cell phone and described what had happened. A few minutes later, the paramedics arrived.
As she was being carried into the ambulance, she thanked Ethan for saving her life.
“Thank you, boy… This is the first time in 20 years that anyone has taken care of me besides my dog…..”
A few days later, Ethan learned that Carla died in the hospital. The doctor who treated her visited him at home to personally break the news – “Carla’s last wish,” he said.
“She told me that she left her home to you and your family as a thank you for what you did,” the doctor said.
The news shocked Ethan, but his parents were happy. They would have a new home to live in after their old house was turned over to the bank. At the same time, they tried to contain their excitement because they knew the price was Carla’s life.
This incident helped them understand that it is not only money that can save a man, but also kindness. A few days later, as his parents prepared to move into Carla’s house, Ethan sat on the porch, still reeling from the woman’s death.
Suddenly he heard a rustle and looked up to see Rocky coming toward him. When the big dog was beside him, he laid his head on the boy’s shoulder.
It was so spontaneous that Ethan hugged him and cried. From that moment on, they were always together. On the other hand, Ethan’s parents stopped treating him as a means to an end and began to raise him as all parents do.