A boy helped an unfamiliar old lady carry her grocery bags home and was startled to find a picture of a kid resembling him. In a turn of events, his mother’s heart broke when she learned who that boy was.
Pitter-Patter! Pitter-Patter! Ryan was walking home, his hands in his pocket, gazing at parents picking up their children from school.
The 9-year-old’s house was nearby at a walkable distance. Although he was happy with the little his single mom could afford, he often wished his dad was with him to make things better.
sighed Ryan, excitedly hurrying home to feed his hungry taste buds with his favorite apple pie when an older woman in the middle of a busy road drew his attention…
“Oh no, a truck is approaching!” he exclaimed, sprinting toward the lady who struggled to carry her bags.
“…What is my son’s photo doing in your house?” yelled the mother.
Vroom! the truck sped past the woman and Ryan as he helped her get to the roadside right on time. He dragged her heavy bags, panting.
“Are you alright, grandma? Please be careful while crossing the road. You missed seeing the truck.”
“Thank you so much, sweetheart. I didn’t notice the traffic signal when I dropped my bag on the crosswalk.”
Ryan sighed relief and decided to help the woman carry her bags home.
“Are you sure? Won’t you be running late?” the woman asked him.
“No, my house is nearby. Where is yours, grandma? I’m Ryan, by the way.”
“Franca!” introduced the woman. “My house is a ten-minute walk from here.”
“Okay, let’s go then,” said Ryan, lifting the heavy bags.
Moments later, they arrived home, and Franca was more than pleased to treat her little savior for helping her out.
“Sweetheart, why don’t you come in and have some tea and apple pie?”
Ryan was hungry and couldn’t resist the offer when he heard her say apple pie. He followed her inside and was awestruck. “Wow! Your house is so big and nice, grandma!”
Just as Franca poured some tea from the kettle and served him the snack, Ryan was drawn toward a picture on the wall.
“That boy in that photo. He looks like me. Who is he?” he curiously asked. “And this pie, I’ve tasted it before. It tastes just like how my mom makes it.”
“That’s strange, dear. But this is not you,” replied Franca.
“Not me? But that’s strange. Were you spying on me? If not, then what’s my photo doing here?” retorted Ryan. He also told Franca that he would tell his mother.
Taken over by fear, Franca revealed her story to the boy and showed him a few other pictures to win his trust. “…And he is abroad. It’s just a coincidence that he resembles you, nothing else. Here, they are his parents. Now, do you believe me?”
“Mmmmm,” exclaimed Ryan, observing the photos.
Franca smiled, pretending she was alright. But Ryan quickly saw her teary eyes and recognized she was sad.
“Whoa! You have a grandson who looks like me in all these pictures!” Ryan exclaimed, enjoying his pie. “I’m sorry for doubting you. Are you okay? And where is he?”
Franca could no longer hold back her tears. “It’s been two years since I saw him. He lives with his mother abroad and barely comes to see this old granny.”
Ryan was touched, and he comforted the woman, promising to see her again. Still, something about his uncanny resemblance to the boy in the photo didn’t add up to him. He greeted Franca goodbye and disappeared into the busy street, waiting to tell his mother what he’d seen.
“….And I saw a picture, mom. You’ll be surprised—” he happily narrated to his mother, who cut him off midway.
“Later! Glad you helped her. Now hurry up, finish your homework. I have to leave for work early tomorrow.”
Sarah waitressed in a restaurant, and though she struggled to make ends meet, she always wanted the best for her son. She did her best to raise him well, unlike her ex-boyfriend, who dumped her when she was pregnant for another rich woman.
Sarah had lied to Ryan that his dad died in an accident to keep him from this bitter truth. And the boy blindly believed her.
Several days passed when Franca chanced upon Ryan in the market with his mother. She happily approached them, knowing little about what would unfold.
“Are you Ryan’s mother?” Franca asked Sarah.
“Oh, yes! Do I know you? Have we met before?” replied Sarah, curious and confused.
“Well, we haven’t met. But I met your young man last week. He helped me carry my heavy bags home.”
“Oh, so it was you he helped?! Ryan told me about you. Glad to meet you, Mrs….”
“I’m Franca! And you have raised such an adorable young man,” the grandma praised, offering Sarah and Ryan a ride home.
“Do you mind dropping by my house for some tea? It’s just nearby,” Franca said, and Sarah and Ryan obliged. Sarah had no idea she was just a five-minute ride away from discovering the most startling truth of her life.
“Nice house!” Sarah complimented as she sat down at the dining table, looking around. Then she spotted the photo. “Oh my God…were you following my son? How dare you?” she fumed.
“Nnn—no, no, Sarah, you got it all wrong,” Franca said, turning pale after seeing Sarah’s face flush red.
“Then what is my son’s photo doing in your house?”
Franca hated having to cry again, but she was left with no choice. She became teary-eyed as she narrated her story to Sarah.
“…and it’s been two years since I saw my grandson, Kevin,” she explained.
“Wait a minute…Your grandson resembles my son. How do you explain that?” Sarah retorted, still suspecting something.
“One sec, let me show you something,” said Franca, who left and returned seconds later with a photo in her hand.
“This is my son, David. He died three years ago in a car crash. Kevin is his son.”
Sarah’s eyes started to glow with tears. An eerie spark lit her face, and she began to stammer. “D-D-David was your s-s-son?”
As it turned out, David was Sarah’s ex-boyfriend who had dumped her when she was pregnant. He left her to marry a rich woman and never returned to her again.
Sarah collapsed on the couch with the photo, narrating her tragic past to Franca, who was equally shocked. Sarah showed her an old picture she had of David as proof.
“….He even taught me how to make an apple pie, saying it was your favorite recipe,” cried Sarah.
“Oh my, I’m so sorry my son did this to you, Sarah. I don’t know what to say.”
Speechless and startled, Sarah hurried home with Ryan. She still could not shake the fact that such a shocking truth had come to light after so many years. She refused to meet Franca whenever she dropped by her house and asked her for some time to get over everything.
“Please, I will see you when I am really out of it. For now, I need some time to get over this. Please, I hope you understand,” she begged Franca during her last visit.
Several weeks passed, and Sarah did not see nor hear from the woman again. One morning, she was about to leave to see Franca when she got a call from an unknown number, asking her to visit a realtor’s office for some paperwork.
“….Mrs. Franklin has left you her house and bank balance. I’m Dave, her lawyer,” said the caller. “She passed away the day before yesterday.”
Sarah was heartbroken and could not bring herself to the reality of it. “What? Mrs. Franklin died?” she cried.
“Yes. She was terminally ill and had prepared her will recently. She said she was happy to spend her numbered days peacefully. Please visit the realtor to complete the paperwork, and I’ll meet you soon.”
Later, Sarah and Ryan went to Franca’s house, heartbroken that she was no longer there to welcome them. Instead, she left an envelope addressed to themon her table. Curious, Sarah picked it up and tore it open.
Sarah, thanks for brightening up my life that was dark for too long. I hope you are not angry with me anymore. Please forgive my son for what he did. I thank you for raising such a wonderful boy, and I’m sure you will be happy to move into my house. I have also left you my bank balance. My lawyer will guide you through it. Please forgive me. My blessings are always with you & Ryan.— With Love, Franca
Sarah wept like a child after reading the letter. She went to Franca’s grave and spent the rest of the evening in silence and tears.
“I am sorry. I forgive your son…and thank you!” she cried as the evening sky lit up with stars and some new hope.
What can we learn from this story?
- It pays to be kind to others. Ryan helped Franca carry her grocery bags home. She was touched by his kindness and invited him and his mother for tea later, only to learn that he was her estranged grandson. Before she died, she left Ryan and his mother her house and bank balance as a token of apology, seeking forgiveness.
- Sometimes, you should forgive people and get over certain things before it is too late. When Sarah decided to accept Franca’s apology and meet her, she learned that the woman had died. Ultimately, she could only apologize and express her regret to Franca’s grave.