Candice was a 65-year-old widow who lived alone in her small house. She did not expect anything from her future and had planned to age gracefully, relying on her pension. It was her only source of income after she retired from the store she worked in.
She had nobody to care for her and refused to move into a nursing home after her husband, Rusell, passed away before her. “I am not leaving this house filled with my beloved’s memories,” she often said. “Not until I join him in the afterlife.”
Candice usually left her house every morning to get freshly baked croissants from the café nearby. It was her favorite spot. It reminded her of her first meeting with her beloved Rusell. One day while locking her house to go to the café, she noticed three kids sitting at her neighbor’s doorstep. They were sad and looked much too skinny…
“They must be Kylee’s children,” she thought and immediately remembered that Kylee was not married. “Then whose kids are those?”
Candice was worried about the children’s undernourished appearance. Unable to control her curiosity, she walked to Kylee’s house to discover who those kids were and what they were doing in her house.
“You changed our lives by teaching us the true value of love. Now it’s our turn to thank you for your contributions to our lives!”
“They are my sister’s children, Miss Candice,” said Kylee. “They moved in with me after their parents died in a car accident. I am sick and can’t work. I’m unable to look after them now, but I’m trying my best.”
Candice painfully sighed and left without a word. After learning about the family’s misery, she was worried and decided to help them.
The following evening, Mike, Toby, and their little sister Zara came out to sit on the doorstep as usual and found a bag. They peeped inside and saw three food boxes with a note, “Never go to sleep hungry. Bon Appétit! With love, Miss Candice.”
The kids were delighted and shared the meal with their aunt Kylee, who could not thank Candice enough for her help. But the older woman did not stop at that. She left food on Kylee’s doorstep every evening to ensure the kids had something nourishing to eat and didn’t starve.
Candice spent her entire pension feeding the children and herself and quickly ran through her savings. But she was not concerned and continued to help the kids.
One day, Candice walked up to Kylee’s house after seeing many people gathered outside. “It was a heart attack. Poor kids, what will they do now?” she heard someone say.
Candice was terrified as she marched through the crowd and entered the house, only to see Kylee lying in a coffin. She had died of a heart attack the previous night, and the kids were orphaned again.
Mike, Toby, and Zara stood beside their aunt’s casket, mourning and seemingly clueless about what was in store for them.
“Don’t worry, sweethearts. Please stay strong…I’m there for you,” Candice hugged the kids. She took them home after the funeral, determined to care for them with her pension. But things headed in a different direction when two social workers from child services arrived on her doorstep two days later to take the children away.
“We are sorry, but we cannot allow the kids to stay with you. You cannot be their guardian unless you adopt them legally. We are sending them to the shelter,” said one of the men.
Candice was heartbroken. The children were gone, and it hurt her even more whenever she saw their vacant home and the empty doorstep. Candice wanted to adopt them, but it was too late. Mike, Toby, and Zara were adopted by an anonymous family and were sent abroad.
Although Candice was disappointed in returning to her hollow, lonely life, she was happy for the kids, knowing their future was secured.
Twenty years passed, and she never heard from or saw the kids again. Candice, who was 85 now, was preparing to go to the café to buy her favorite croissants when an SUV unexpectedly pulled over outside her house.
Candice put her palm over her eyes to cut the glare. “Hey! You must be Miss Candice,” waved the driver. Candice was bewildered and shyly nodded before replying. “Yes, I’m Candice. Do I know you?”
“I’m afraid not, but I’m here to take you with me…Your relatives are waiting for you at the airport,” said the man, startling Candice. As far as she knew, she was an orphan and had no relatives.
“My relatives? But I don’t have anybody….” she answered, confused.
But the man wouldn’t move until Candice finally agreed to get into the car and ride with him to the airport to see who was waiting for her.
“My relatives? But they are all dead,” she grumbled, unprepared for the biggest shock of her life.
Moments later, the driver took Candice by her hand and led her to a private jet waiting for her. She saw two young men and a lovely young woman in a wedding dress wave at her and walk down the steps.
They were Mike, Toby, and Zara—the three orphaned children she had once fed!
Candice could not believe her eyes when she saw them. She recognized the boys, thanks to those dimpled smiles she had always loved. They hugged her and kissed her on her cheeks. “You changed our lives by teaching us the true value of love. Now it’s our turn to thank you for your contributions to our lives!” said Mike.
It turned out that after they were adopted by a wealthy family, Mike and Toby took over their adopted dad’s business. They became even richer and decided to come for the woman who loved them unconditionally and never let them starve.
“Please allow us!” said Toby as he led a surprised and emotional Candice to the private jet.
“It’s my special day today,” cried Zara. “And I want you to be there, not as my guest but as my GRANDMA!”
Candice was moved to tears as she took slow, baby steps up the stairs. She flew to Hawaii to attend Zara’s wedding. Candice had never been so happy in her life. She was so lively at the ceremony and enjoyed singing and dancing. As an added joy, Mike and Toby asked her to move in with them after the wedding.
Although Candice was touched, she refused. “That house holds my husband’s treasured memory. I’m sure you can visit this old granny often!” she laughed, politely dismissing the offer. The guys were moved to tears by Candice’s response and vowed to visit her.
“Today is the best day of my life!” she cried, hugging Mike, Toby, and Zara as they posed for a beautiful picture, hugging her.
What can we learn from this story?
- Be kind to others. You may not know what they are going through. Despite her pension being her only source of livelihood, Candice spent it to feed her orphaned neighborhood kids.
- Be grateful to those who helped you overcome your struggles. Mike, Toby, and Zara never forgot their kind neighbor Candice and her help when they starved 20 years ago. They came for her in a private jet and took her to Zara’s destination wedding. They even invited Candice to move in with them, though she politely declined the offer.