Moonlight peeked through the cabin window, dimly illuminating the room. Oliver lay on his bed, engrossed in his book, when he heard his grandmother Angela’s voice.
“Oliver, supper’s ready, honey,” she said. “Hurry up!”
“Not now, Grandma!” sighed Oliver. “I was at the best part!”.
Oliver was very curious about the continuation of the story he was reading. He had lit a candle on his bedside table as the darkness grew, and he didn’t want to stop reading, but he closed the book and went downstairs for dinner.
The boy was a bookworm when it came to adventure books. He read them every night before dinner; also on the way to school, aboard the bus, and at every opportunity that came his way.
His family was small, as was the cabin where he lived. It consisted of her grandmother Angela and her younger sister, Eva. His mother had passed away several years ago due to cancer and his father had abandoned them after that.
When Oliver sat down at the table, they all held hands, said a prayer and began to eat. With his mouth full of food, he told them details of the detective story he was reading. His passion was contagious.
Angela felt sorry for Oliver as she listened to him talk enthusiastically about the books he was reading. They were poor and she knew that the money he gave her for lunch was spent on those books and that made her sad.
At one point, she wanted to look for another job so Oliver wouldn’t have to skip his lunch, but Eva was too young and needed someone to take care of her. Besides, her health was not in the best condition.
So every night she smiled with a heavy heart as Oliver narrated the stories he read. I wished I could be a better grandmother and give him so much more.
That night, after everyone finished dinner, Oliver helped Angela clear the table, then went back to his books and fell asleep while reading.
The next day, on the bus, Oliver was reading again when he heard an argument and looked up. The driver was yelling at a woman wearing thick black glasses as she begged him to let her board the bus.
“I left the house in a hurry and I think I lost my wallet, sir!” she told the driver. “I have to see my daughter – she’s in the hospital!”.
“You’d better get off, ma’am,” the driver said flatly. “I’m sick of people making up lies to get out of paying the fare!”.
“Sir, I’m not lying,” said the old lady. “Please help me, I’ll have someone at the hospital pay you as soon as we get there!” she pleaded.
“GET OUT!” the driver shouted at her. “I’ve heard that excuse before – don’t waste my time!”.
Knowing she wouldn’t be able to persuade the driver, the older woman was about to get out, bracing herself for the cold winds blowing through the city, when Oliver intervened.
“I’ll pay that three dollars’ worth of her fare, sir!” said Oliver. “Ma’am, please come with me. You don’t need to get off.”
Oliver helped the old blind woman sit next to him and paid her fare. When he returned to his seat, he asked her if she was all right and she smiled.
“Thank you so much,” the woman said. “You have the sweet voice of a little boy!”.
“I’m big!” he replied proudly. “And my name is Oliver. What happened to your daughter?”.
“I’m Mary,” she introduced herself. “My daughter gave birth and I need to see her. Thank you for helping me today, Oliver.”
“It wasn’t a problem, Mary,” Oliver said, although it would be a problem for him. That money he’d just spent on the ticket he’d been saving to buy the next book in the series he was reading. But he couldn’t help but help her.
“Where are you headed, Oliver?” asked Mary.
The boy explained that he was on his way to school, and they chatted a bit before they reached the stop where Oliver was to get off.
Oliver really liked Mary. She reminded him of his grandmother. When he told her he loved books, she listened as patiently as Angela did.
“I’ll tell Grandma about her. She’ll be proud of what I did!” he thought, as he walked to his school.
And so he did. Instead of talking about his books that night, Oliver talked about Mary and the good deed he had done for her.
“That’s so nice what you did, Oliver!” said Angela. “That was very sweet of you!”.
Oliver had no idea that very soon he would be meeting Mary’s son. So, when a tall man showed up at his door the next morning, he was confused.
“Are you Oliver?” the man asked
“Yes, it’s me,” Oliver replied as Eva and Angela joined him at the door.
“How can we help you?” asked Angela. “Do you know Oliver?”
The man smiled.
“I’m Javier. Oliver helped my mother yesterday, so I wanted to thank him. With the information he gave her it wasn’t hard for me to locate the address. I got you something,” he said looking at the boy. “Give me a second.”
The man went to his car and returned with a box full of books.
“I can’t believe it!” exclaimed Oliver when he saw the books. “Mary told you I love to read?”.
Javier nodded. “Of course she did, and I hope you liked her surprise!”.
“Those books must have cost you a lot more than Oliver paid. We can’t accept them,” Angela said very apologetically.
“It’s true, Javier,” Oliver said sadly. “You can’t buy that many books for only $3!”.
“You can keep them all, Oliver,” Javier said. “I’m not sure if your grandson told you in detail what happened yesterday,” he continued, looking at Angela, “but my mother wouldn’t have been able to visit my sister without his help.”
“So, please, I insist; let me do this. Such generous actions as this child’s deserve to be recognized and rewarded.”
In the end, he managed to convince Angela to accept the books, and Oliver was only too happy – it was a real treasure for him!
“Mary is the best! Javier, please tell her I loved the books and thank you so much!” the boy said.
“I will, amigo!” said Javier, smiling. “She’ll be very happy to know that.”
Soon after, Javier had a delicious cup of raspberry tea with the cookies Angela had made. He also noticed that they were having some problems with the electricity and decided to do something about it. It was definitely a special day for everyone.