«Let’s take Dad to the nursing home. How much longer do we have to wait for our inheritance? I’m tired of taking care of him,» Jorge told his twin brother Carlos.
They had been taking turns caring for their father for six months every year. Their father, Bruno Zapata, was a 78-year-old retired businessman who had amassed a considerable fortune.
His children always dreamed of inheriting his business, but he had no confidence in their abilities, so his right-hand man, Patricio, ran the business while his children held management positions.
Bruno had been living with his twins since the death of his wife Deborah. He had asked them to take him in because initially he did not want to live alone.
At first, Jorge and Carlos happily accepted, as this meant more time to prove to their father that they should receive his entire inheritance when he passed away.
However, the man realized that he should have chosen to live alone, as that way his activities and dealings would not be restricted.
As soon as he moved in, Jorge and Carlos started asking for extravagant things and even large amounts of money for «investments».
It was clear to the father that his children only spent time with him when they had requests, so he thought of a way to protect his assets.
One day, he asked his right-hand man to become his guardian. This meant that only Patrick alone had access to his large share of the funds, and that would only change once Bruno passed away.
When the twins found out, they were furious. They demanded that the guardianship be transferred to one of them, but Bruno refused.
«There’s no need for that. Here is a bank account from which you can withdraw money for the expenses you are incurring for my stay here,» the father said, handing them a passbook.
Jorge and Carlos were not satisfied. Although the account had a considerable amount of money in it, they knew their father had much more.
One day, they decided to kick him out.
«Dad. Carlos and I have decided to put you in a nursing home,» Jorge said.
Bruno was surprised by their decision.
«Why, I haven’t caused you any trouble in the past, why are you kicking me out now?» he asked.
«We think it’s time for our families to have some privacy. We want our homes to ourselves without having to worry about you. Besides, a nursing home would be good for you. They could take better care of you,» Carlos interjected.
Bruno was hurt. He never thought his children would abandon him as many others did their elderly parents. After all, he stayed inside his room all day and only went out to eat.
«We’ve already paid the nursing home fees in full. They’re coming to pick you up tonight,» Jorge said before leaving the room.
Bruno felt helpless. Even if he wanted to buy his own house, he didn’t have access to his own money. He didn’t even have his own cell phone because his children didn’t think he needed one.
In the end, he agreed to be taken to the nursing home. If his children did not want him in their homes, then perhaps he would find companionship elsewhere.
That night he was taken in a van to a nursing home in the suburbs. His first day there was very sad for him and he couldn’t help but cry. In his mind, he talked to his late wife, Deborah.
«Our children have abandoned me, Deborah. I don’t like it here. It’s cold, lonely, and reminds me that I probably don’t have long to live anymore,» he thought.
Over the years, Bruno’s goal had been to make enough money to live comfortably. But he was so good at what he did that he was able to grow his business into an empire.
This allowed him and his family to live comfortably and enjoy some luxuries. However, he realized that instead of inspiring his children to work hard, they had become complacent and lazy. They knew they could always turn to their father whenever they wanted.
As the days passed, Bruno realized that his children had not even bothered to put him in a good nursing home. They had settled for the cheapest one, and it showed.
His nurse was a young woman who didn’t care for him. She would leave his food on the table and immediately leave the room, as she was busy on her cell phone most of the time.
So, Bruno found ways to amuse himself. He would read books, take walks in the garden or draw. One day, while he was enjoying a book inside his room, a janitor asked him if he could come in.
The old man was surprised to see that the man looked exactly like his sons.
«Jorge? What is this, a joke? What are you doing here?» he asked.
The man looked completely puzzled and checked Bruno’s file by the door to see whether or not he had Alzheimer’s disease.
«Umm, my name is Sergio, Mr. Zapata. I’m working as a janitor here, is something wrong?» he asked.
«No. Sergio, do you have a phone? Do you think I can make a call?» asked Bruno.
«I have a phone. Sure! I know how lonely it can be here. You can use my phone to call your family,» Sergio said, pulling his cell phone out of his pocket.
«Thank you, son,» he said. Then he looked in his phone book for Jorge’s and Carlos’ numbers.
«Jorge?» he said after they answered. «Dad, Carlos and I are at work. He told me to tell you not to call him,» Jorge said quickly.
«I wanted to tell you something,» Bruno began, but his son interrupted him. «I can’t talk now. I’ll talk to you another time,» he said before hanging up the phone.
The old man was saddened, but he expected his children to exclude him. He knew they only wanted to relate to him for his money. He handed Sergio his phone and the janitor felt sad for Bruno.
«Your nurse doesn’t spend any time with you, and it shows,» he said.
«That’s just the way it is, but that’s okay. I can manage. How old are you?» the old man replied. He couldn’t help but ask.
«I’m 44! And you, Mr. Zapata?» the man replied. Bruno’s eyes widened. Carlos and Jorge were also 44 years old. He was suddenly curious about the coincidence and wanted to get to know Sergio a little better.
«My twin sons are also 44 years old! It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sergio,» Bruno smiled.
The man spoke to the old man with great enthusiasm. He began to frequent their room and they talked about things that interested them.
It turns out they had a lot in common. Both were big fans of the same baseball team and both had played basketball when they were younger.
Bruno loved spending time with Sergio, and Sergio also began to see the older man as a father figure. Knowing that the food at the nursing home could be quite repetitive, Sergio would bring him some home-cooked meals that they enjoyed together.
One day, Bruno took Sergio’s glass and hid it. He had a feeling it was his son and wanted to prove it.
«Sergio, can I borrow your phone? I just need to make a call,» the old man asked one day.
«Of course! I’ll leave you my phone for a moment. I’m just going to go out and clean a couple more rooms,» the man said, handing him the device.
Bruno proceeded to call his right-hand man, Patricio. He asked him to visit him to give him the glass along with his DNA sample so that a test could be done.
«It’s very strange, Patricio, but I think I have another son. I don’t know how it happened, but there is a man who works here at the nursing home who is identical to Jorge and Carlos, and he is also 44 years old. Do this for me, please,» he pleaded.
«Of course, Bruno. Anything for you. I’ll be there,» the man replied.
After an hour, Patricio arrived at the nursing home. He took the samples and promised the old man he would return once he had the results.
A couple of weeks later, Patricio visited Bruno with the news.
«You were right,» he told the older man, handing him the envelope.
The paternity test said Bruno was Sergio’s father.
«How did this happen? I had a hunch, but I don’t understand,» the old man said. Patricio promised to investigate and get to the bottom of the mystery, but Bruno became terminally ill in the process.
«I’m afraid I’m running out of time, Patrick,» he said when his right-hand man visited him one day.
The older man asked the younger man to take care of a couple of things for him: one of those things was his will.
«I’m not sure I’ll be able to get the results of the investigation in time, Bruno. But anything else you need me to do, I’ll be happy to do,» he said.
That same day, the old man realized he needed to tell Sergio the truth before it was too late. The janitor didn’t visit him that often because Bruno’s diagnosis made him sad, but that day he called him to his room.
«I have a story to share with you,» he began. «Forty-four years ago, my wife Deborah gave birth to twins. It was a complicated delivery, and she needed to be injected with anesthesia for the delivery to take place. When she woke up, they told us that the twins were healthy,» she explained.
Sergio listened attentively, thinking it was just another of Bruno’s life stories. He was used to them by now.
«I’m still researching this, but when I first met you, the reason I thought you were playing a joke on me was because you looked identical to my twin sons. I didn’t think it was possible, but a DNA test confirmed it,» the old man said, handing him a piece of paper.
Sergio quickly opened it and saw a 100% paternity match between his and Bruno’s DNA.
«I took one of the glasses you used one day and sent it to the lab. You are my third son, Sergio. It breaks my heart to know this so late in my life,» Bruno said, shedding a few tears.
Sergio looked at the old man and cried. He was heartbroken to learn that the life of the man who turned out to be his father was about to be cut short and that their days together were numbered.
«I have always longed for my father. I grew up knowing that my late mother had adopted me, but I never thought I would find my biological father,» he sobbed.
For the next two weeks, Sergio spent as much time as possible with Bruno. They went for walks, enjoyed meals together and watched television together.
When the older man succumbed to his illness, the younger man was absolutely heartbroken. He stayed by his father’s side, crying.
The nursing home had called Bruno’s other sons, Jorge and Carlos, but they didn’t arrive until a couple of hours later. It turned out that they went straight to the lawyer’s office to claim their inheritance.
«I’m sorry,» the lawyer told them. «You are not part of the will, so I can’t reveal anything to you.»
«What do you mean, we’re not part of the will? We’re his only living heirs! Who else would he give his money to?» said Carlos, pounding the table in anger.
At that moment, Patricio walked into the lawyer’s office.
«How dare you two come here before paying your last respects to your father! He died hours ago, and you dare to come straight here!» he said angrily.
«It’s only fair that he didn’t leave you anything. Maybe if you visited him right now, you would understand why he chose to do that,» Patricio said angrily.
Carlos and Jorge shot him a withering look before quickly leaving the office. They drove to the nursing home, where they saw their father’s body being transferred to an ambulance. There they saw Sergio for the first time.
«Who are you?» asked Jorge in shock.
«My name is Sergio. You may not believe it, but I’m your brother,» he said, handing the twins a copy of the paternity test.
The brothers scoffed.
«Why would he leave everything to you? You just showed up in his life when he was about to die,» Carlos said bitterly.
«I don’t know. I didn’t even know he had a will,» Sergio said.
The men didn’t believe him and proceeded to contest the will in court that same week. In the end, their requests were denied.
Meanwhile, Sergio turned to his aunt to find out what had happened 44 years ago.
«I didn’t think I would have to tell you this story,» the woman told him.
«One day, your mom was crying in a fertility doctor’s office after being told she couldn’t have children. A man approached her and introduced himself as a doctor,» she explained.
«The man told your mom that the couple only knew they had two children, but what their previous ultrasounds had not shown was that they had a third baby.»
«She was devastated knowing she couldn’t have children, and when the doctor offered her one of the babies, she agreed,» her aunt said.
«The doctor told your mom that he could give her a child if she agreed to pay him a large amount of money. Desperate, your mom agreed. I’m sorry you had to hear it this way, Sergio.»
«Your mom may not have brought you into the world, but she loved you very much. You should know that at least,» the woman told her surprised nephew.
Sergio loved his adoptive mother very much and thought about her a lot. However, he felt hurt at the time after realizing that she had taken him away from his real family and deprived him of the opportunity to get to know them.
So, he did what he could to honor his late parents. He opened a nursing home to care for the elderly with Bruno’s money.
His siblings continued to hate him for not giving them money. But little by little he was able to convince them to work with him to establish nursing homes in honor of their late parents.
In the end, Carlos and Jorge regretted spending most of their time trying to take advantage of their father. Sergio made them see that there was more to life than money and that, at the end of the day, family is more important than anything else.