Laura struggles to support herself and her young son after divorcing his father. She’s about to give up after her landlord raises the rent, but a mysterious benefactor is ready to help.
“Here’s dinner.” Laura forced herself to smile as she set a cheese sandwich in front of her 10-year-old son, Adam.
Adam lifted the top slice of bread. “No mayo?”
“We’re out of mayo, sweetie.” Laura joined him at the table, sitting delicately on the wobbly chair. Like all the furniture in their tiny apartment, it was damaged and in danger of collapsing.
“Can we get more soon?” Adam looked at her, his blue eyes wide and hopeful.
Laura shrugged and took a bite of her sandwich.
Money had been tight ever since she divorced Adam’s father, Eric. She and Adam had moved from a lovely suburban house to a tiny apartment filled with roaches and mice.
Lately, she’d been struggling to keep food on the table. She’d tried hard to find a better job to afford a better place to stay, but Laura didn’t have any formal qualifications.
A booming knock at the door interrupted their dinner. Laura stood and shimmied between the faded couch and the table to reach the front door. The hallway was empty, but a sealed envelope lay on the floor.
Laura’s jaw dropped when she read the letter inside the envelope. The landlord was raising the rent! They could barely afford to stay there now. This increase would doom her and Adam.
“Mom, are you okay?”
Laura turned to Adam, who was watching her with concern from his seat at the table.
“I’m fine,” she lied.
“Why don’t you finish up your homework, sweetie?”
Adam frowned and hung his head, his dark hair hanging in his eyes. He needed a haircut, but she couldn’t afford it, especially not now.
“Okay, mom.” Adam stood and went to his bedroom.
After Adam shut the door to his bedroom, Laura collapsed onto the couch. She took out her phone and started searching for apartments to rent, but they were too expensive.
After an hour of searching, Laura set her phone aside. Tears ran down her cheeks. She couldn’t find anywhere suitable for her and Adam to live that was affordable.
She looked up as a cockroach scuttled across the table. There was nothing she could do. At the end of that month, she and Adam would be homeless.
“But who paid the bill for me?”
For days, Laura spent all her free time searching for a place to stay. She even pleaded with her landlord not to raise the price, but he refused.
Laura was desperate and couldn’t hide the situation from her son any longer. After Adam returned from school that Friday, she sat down to talk to him.
“Adam, you might need to stay with your dad for a while,” she said.
Laura sighed. “Because we can’t afford to stay here anymore, sweetie. There’s nowhere for us to go and I think it will be best if you stay with your dad until I figure things out.”
“No.” Adam lunged at Laura and hugged her fiercely. “I want to stay with you, Mom.”
Laura hugged Adam back and kissed the top of his head, trying to keep herself from crying.
“I’ve been trying to find a new place for us to stay, but every apartment I see is too expensive.”
“There must be a way we can stay together,” Adam whined.
“Please, don’t give up, Mom.”
Laura ruffled his soft hair. “Okay, sweetie. I’ll carry on looking.”
Finally, Laura found a homeless shelter where she and Adam could stay for a while. The day before she and Adam were scheduled to move out, Laura received a call from the landlord.
“Hi, Nick,” she said. “We’ll be out in the morning, just as I promised.”
“You won’t,” he replied in his gruff voice. “Your rent and utilities have been paid for the next year.”
Laura couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. “What did you say?”
“Your bills have been paid in advance for the next year. Are you hard of hearing or something?”
“But who paid the bill for me?”
“Someone called Eric Herne. Is he a friend of yours, or a boyfriend?”
Laura stared at the wall in shock. Eric, her cheating ex-husband, had paid her rent for a year!
Laura said goodbye to her landlord and immediately called Eric.
“Laura, hi,” he answered.
“Don’t you ‘Laura, hi’ me,” she replied.
“Why did you pay my rent?”
“Because I want to help. Can I come over? I’d rather discuss this face to face.”
Laura gritted her teeth. Eric’s cheating had broken her heart. She didn’t want to see him but eventually agreed to let him visit.
Half an hour later, Eric stood on her doorstep looking sheepish. Laura invited him in.
“Adam told me about your situation when he came to visit for the weekend earlier this month,” Eric told her. “He… he wanted me to help him find a job so he could help you pay the rent.”
Laura put a hand over her mouth. Beside her on the couch, Eric looked earnest and sad as he continued.
“I know it’s my fault you’re in this situation,” he said. “We were happily married until I cheated on you. I don’t blame you for divorcing me, but you and Adam are still my family.”
Laura gave him a stern look. “Adam is your son, but I’m not your family anymore, Eric.”
Eric raised his hands in a placating gesture. “I know we’re over, Laura, but you’re Adam’s mother, and you’ve supported him through our divorce in ways I never could have.”
Eric sighed deeply.
“I’m trying to be a better father to him. I’m trying to make up for what I did to our family. I paid your bills for the year to thank you for being such a wonderful mother to Adam.”
Laura nodded. “In that case, I’ll accept this gift.”
In the following months, Laura cut back on her hours and signed up for a diploma course in accounting. She studied hard, and at the end of the year, she was hired for a new job with a better salary.
What can we learn from this story?
Never lose hope. Although staying positive during dark times is challenging, it’s essential to keep hopeful.
Allow others to help you, even if they wronged you in the past. People can change, and it’s important to let them make up for past misdeeds.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a poor girl whose generosity toward a stray dog is repaid in a surprising way.