As Noah sat at the kitchen table in his new home, he couldn’t help but think about how his life had changed in the past few months. The man lost his wife, who passed away from cancer, and took on the role of single parent.
Chris, Tomas and Henry were quiet, obedient children, but Noah was trying to juggle fatherhood and work. He was a teacher and one day received a job offer at a small school. The hours were fewer and the pay was not very good, but he accepted it, hoping to find a better balance in life.
“I guess it’s not so bad,” he said to himself when the doorbell rang.
When he opened the door, he was met by an older woman. She was carrying a cherry pie in her hands.
“Hello, young man,” she said cheerfully. “I’m Mrs. Garner, and I live next door to you. You see, it’s nice to have new friends, so I thought I should pay you a visit. This is for you and your little boys,” she added, handing over the pie.
“Oh, that’s very kind of you,” he said. “I’m Noah, by the way. Thank you for the pie, would you like some tea?”.
“I would love to. Thank you,” the old woman replied.
Noah served her tea and cookies and told her that he had moved into a new house after his wife’s death.
“It must be hard for you, but that job opportunity sounds good. I’m glad you’re taking it,” he expressed.
“Thanks,” Noah replied. “It’s a little lonely here, though. I don’t know anyone, and my kids…I don’t feel safe leaving them alone.”
“Oh, honey, then you could use some help!” advised Mrs. Garner. “I live alone and have no one, how about if I help you?”.
“Thank you, but…are you sure? I don’t want to burden you.”
“I’m happy to help you,” Mrs. Garner replied.
“Speaking of which,” Noah paused. “I noticed that your yard needs maintenance… How about I clean it up for you?”
“Well, if you insist, then that’s fine. Thank you, Noah.”
So Noah began cleaning Mrs. Garner’s yard every day, and soon, they became good friends. He knew she was frail and lonely, and needed help, so he visited her often and helped her.
One morning, Noah was late shoveling snow and Mrs. Garner broke her hip after slipping on the ice. He immediately called 911 and stayed by her side until the paramedics arrived.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Garner was bedridden and unable to move. Noah and his three young children cared for the old woman, brought her food and listened to her wonderful stories.
Noah also taught Mrs. Garner to walk again, hoping to get her out of bed and out of the house. Sometimes he wondered why there were no family pictures in their home, and once he tried to ask her, but she got teary-eyed and he never asked her again.
One day, Noah stopped by her house for dinner and was perplexed when she asked him to stop helping her.
“I don’t need you to shovel the snow off my driveway and I don’t plan to leave the house, Noah,” she told him.
“Are you all right, Mrs. Garner?” he asked, confused. “Is something bothering you?”
“What could possibly bother an old lady like me? I just want to stay in my house, and I don’t want to be a burden.”
“You’re not a burden, Mrs. Garner,” Noah replied. “I’m happy to help you, just as you help me with my children. And all our work will be in vain if you don’t start walking again. I want to help you.”
With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Garner said:
“You have a beautiful heart, honey. Thank you for everything you do for me.”
“It’s no problem, Mrs. Garner. I’m just returning the favor,” Noah told the older woman that day.
However, he never imagined that she would be leaving home a week later, and that he would find a “FOR SALE” sign.
That morning, Noah was surprised not to find her in the house. He had a spare key, so he was able to gain access to Mrs. Garner’s house. Suddenly, he saw a man inside the house.
“Hello?” said Noah from the porch. “Do you need something?”
The man tensed. “Well, who are you?” he asked.
“I’m the landlady’s neighbor,” Noah introduced himself. “And you are…”.
“I’m Peter,” the man said. “I’m her son, actually. I was just checking to see what repairs need to be made before I sell the house.”
Pedro told Noah that he had moved Mrs. Garner into a nursing home and was putting her house up for sale.
Noah asked him for the address of the residence and why he never visited, and Peter replied:
“I moved here last week for a job opportunity, and my wife and children need me… Mom requires a lot of attention. I can’t be around her because I have my own family, so I’ve moved her to a nursing home.”
Noah felt bad that Mrs. Garner’s son didn’t care about her and suddenly remembered how depressed she had been before.
When he visited her in the nursing home, she sobbed on his shoulders, explaining how lonely she felt after her husband died and Peter moved out.
Noah insisted that she move in with him and his children, but she refused, saying she didn’t want to bother him. But when he returned the next day with his children and tried to convince her again, she couldn’t refuse.
“You have been our family, Mrs. Graner,” Noah told her. “And we’ve never considered you a burden. We’d love to have you in the house.”
So while she was rejected by her son, Noah and his children gave Mrs. Garner a loving home. And it didn’t take long for Pedro to get a taste of his own medicine.
When Noah went to pick up his children from school, he met Peter in front of the principal’s office and learned that his daughter was very disrespectful to teachers and other older people.
“Well, kids do what they see,” Noah told him as he walked away with his children.
Peter felt embarrassed by what he had done. Then he showed up on Noah’s porch a few days later and apologized to Mrs. Garner for not being a good son.
Over time, Peter improved and now visits Mrs. Garner often.