A helpless new mother is delighted when a boy limps to her rescue to lift her stroller into the bus. The next day, her husband knocks on the boy’s door with a huge surprise that makes him cry.
Robert painfully sighed as he watched his classmates play basketball. It distressed him because he wanted to be a star player one day. He yearned to represent his school in all the tournaments, but nobody took him seriously.
The 12-year-old was brushed aside as an audience because everybody presumed he could not play or run around with a prosthetic leg. Robert was born with complications in his leg, which had to be amputated.
He looked at the players with wide, teary eyes, hoping they would invite him to join or sub for someone. But the boys thought their team would lose if Robert played for them.
The PE class was over, and the boys dispersed. Robert congratulated the winners of the match and grabbed his backpack and crutch. He slowly headed to a stop nearby and waited for the bus…
Five minutes later, a bus arrived. Robert waited for the others to get in because he did not want anybody to grumble or call him a slowpoke when he got in. He was not insecure, but he hated when some passed unkind comments behind his back.
He marched toward the seat for specially-abled people. It was already reserved for Robert because the conductor and driver knew him well. He was their regular passenger.
Winners are not born. They are made.
The driver was also well acquainted with Robert’s mother, Rebecca. He knew her struggles as a single mother abandoned by the man she trusted and loved, her ex-husband Harry.
Five years ago, Robert and his mom Rebecca’s life was not the same. They still had the man of the house with them. Harry was more than a dad to Robert. He was his role model and inspiration. “My dad’s my hero!” Robert often boasted.
He loved to play basketball with his daddy in the small field outside their house. It was how he started to dream about becoming a basketball player one day. Not just any ordinary player, Robert wanted to become a star player.
Life was peaceful and happy with the little they had. But Harry’s devotion to his family faded when he got promoted and moved overseas. He forgot he was already married and had a 7-year-old kid when fell in love with another woman.
Harry was not shy or guilty about revealing his extramarital affair to Rebecca. He broke her heart and divorced her shortly after.
Robert lost a significant part of his childhood with his father. He felt lonely and unloved but pulled himself together for his mother’s sake.
“You have to go to school and study well. Don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams,” she often told Robert. Her words were enough to fuel his passion.
It had been five years since Robert last saw his dad. Harry only kept in touch with his son through the child support he paid. He had married his girlfriend and was now a father of two kids.
Harry gave his new family a fairytale life of dreams but failed his ex-wife and son, who worshipped and loved him.
The bus rode over a speed bump, jolting Robert to the present. It stopped at the next station to pick up people, and a new mother was the last to wait in line. She was holding a stroller with her baby fast asleep in it.
Robert watched as the woman pushed her pram forward and looked up for help to lift it and bring it inside the bus. But the passengers, mostly men, pretended they didn’t even notice. So Robert walked up to her rescue without further thought.
“Miss, hold the other side, careful…easy…easy,” he said as he grabbed the stroller and pulled it inside. Then the conductor helped him, and in a matter of few minutes, the pram was in.
“Thank you so much!” the mom sighed. She did not know Robert had difficulty walking until seeing him limp to his seat. She pushed the cart nearer to him and stood. “Do you want to sit, miss?” he asked her. “There’s some space left. Please sit.”
The woman was touched by the strange boy’s kindness and introduced herself as Sandra. She saw a little basketball keychain on his backpack’s zipper. “You like to play basketball?!” she asked Robert.
A little spark of joy lit up Robert’s eyes as they rose with tears. He exclaimed: “I love basketball. I want to become a state-level player. I used to play every day with my daddy. But I don’t have anybody to train me after he left us.”
“Left you?” Sandra worried.
Robert sighed painfully. He told her about his parents’ divorce and his struggles in making it to his school basketball team.
“My husband was a basketball player too,” said Sandra and stopped talking. Her stop had arrived, and she got busy getting down. Robert rose to help her, but she smiled and refused.
“I can get down, sweetheart. My mom-in-law is waiting at the stop. Thanks a bunch!” she said. Robert waved goodbye and got ready to get down at the next stop, where his home was.
It was Saturday the next day, and Robert’s school was off. He was watching NBA games on his mom’s mobile when a loud knock startled him. Robert grabbed his crutch and answered the door. A tall, muscular man stood on his porch with a basketball.
Robert was stunned and asked, “Sir, how may I help you?”
The man smiled and gave Robert the ball and a pair of baggy shorts and jerseys. “Champ, get ready for practice. I’ve come to train you. Don’t you wanna represent your school in the next state-level match?!”
Robert could not believe his eyes and burst into tears. As it turned out, the man was Jacob, Sandra’s husband. He was an ex-military man and a former basketball player. Sandra had told him about Robert, and they found the boy’s address from his school the previous evening.
Jacob trained Robert thrice a week for six months. He taught the boy new game tactics to control the ball and his speed. Besides mentoring Robert, Jacob motivated him to beat every obstacle. “Winners are not born. They are made.” he often told him.
Six months later, Robert played a test match in school and was selected to represent his team in the inter-school tournament. The boys who once set him aside over his disability flocked to lift him up. They cheered for Robert and his impeccable field goals. Everyone wanted to befriend him because they realized he was an asset to their team.
A few months later, Robert represented his school in an inter-school match. His dad, Harry, learned of his son’s popularity in the sport and attended the event. He felt guilty for neglecting Robert. Harry cheered for the boy, met him after his winning match, and apologized.
From that moment onward, Robert did not feel the void left behind by his father. They often met, and Harry even accompanied Robert to his tournaments.
Despite his newfound fame and friendship, Robert remained loyal to Sandra and Jacob. He never forgot their help and always considered them his guardian angels who led him from darkness to light.
What can we learn from this story?
Do not ignore those in need of help. When all the men aboard the bus ignored Sandra and her difficulty getting the stroller into the bus, Robert helped her.
Never look down upon someone. You may never know how famous they might become one day. Robert’s classmates never took him to any of the basketball teams. They assumed they would lose if he played for them. Ultimately, they flocked to befriend him after seeing his star performance in basketball tournaments.