At the train station, Travis greeted a young girl who recognized him from commercials on TV. But he didn’t know what to think when the little girl said he was her father. Then his ex-wife appeared and shocked him.
Travis was running late for his train because his car popped a tire. He needed to get to New Jersey for a business meeting, but luckily, it was still several hours away. The next train would depart in an hour, so he had plenty of time. He decided to wait at Pennsylvania Station and hoped to be back in New York that same night.
As he looked around for other people, he noticed a little girl sitting on one of the benches, crying. There was no one else at the station, so he approached her.
“Hey, little one. Why are you crying? Where are your parents?” he asked gently. The girl looked up, and her eyes widened.
“It’s you!” the little girl exclaimed and smiled. Travis was no stranger to that reaction from people. He often appeared on TV commercials and online ads promoting his company, which developed an app for online tutoring.
Aside from being the co-founder, Travis got picked to be the face of their marketing campaign. Now he was a minor celebrity in some New York boroughs. “Ah, yes. That’s me you see on the TV ads. What’s your name, little girl?” he asked.
“My name is Ava. Where are you going?” the little girl replied.
“I’m going to New Jersey on the next train, Ava. What about you? Where are you going?”
“I don’t know. Can I come with you?”
“No, Ava. You can’t go away with strangers you meet in public. Do you know your mom’s phone number? I can call her for you,” Travis inquired.
“But you are not a stranger. Your name is Travis, and I know you,” Ava insisted.
“You know my name because you have seen me on TV. But I’m still a stranger. Your mother surely taught you to be careful when you go outside, right? But just because you see me on TV doesn’t mean that you know me,” Travis explained carefully.
“NO! I KNOW YOU! My mom said that you are my father,” Ava insisted. Travis went pale for a second and didn’t know what to say.
“I’m sorry, Ava. But that’s impossible. I don’t have kids,” Travis finally stated.
“Yes, you do. I’m your daughter. Why didn’t you come to see me earlier?” Ava questioned and pouted.
Travis didn’t want to play along anymore. “I’ll tell you if you tell me where your mother is,” he negotiated.
“My mom’s…hmmm… upstairs, I think,” Ava started. “I got mad at her and ran away.”
“Oh, Ava. You shouldn’t have done that. She must be so worried.”
“She wouldn’t tell me where YOU were. I begged her to take me to visit you, but she wouldn’t,” Ava maintained.
Travis sighed. The little girl would not give up the idea that he was her father. What am I going to do now? he wondered. But just then, he heard a woman calling Ava’s name desperately.
“Over here,” Travis waved at the woman who came running at the sound of his voice, and for the second time that day, he froze.
“Ava! You can’t run away from me ever again! Do you understand?” the woman said earnestly and hugged her girl. Then she stood up and looked at Travis. “Thank you so much, sir. I…”
“Candice?” Travis interrupted, looking at his ex-wife in confusion.
“Travis…what are you doing here?” Candice asked nervously. Ava decided to chime in at that moment.
“See, Mommy? I found Dad! You wouldn’t take him to see me, but I found him!” Ava cheered.
“Is it true?” Travis whispered. Candice looked away from him. They had not seen each other since the divorce five years ago. At the time, Travis was working too hard, and she felt neglected. But everything ended due to his secretary.
Candice saw them getting too close for comfort, prompting her to ask for a separation while refusing to hear Travis’ explanation.
The truth was that his secretary had flirted with him heavily, so he decided to send her to another department. But his wife didn’t want to hear any explanations or excuses. She ended things and there was no communication between them since.
Now, staring at Travis after what seemed like an eternity, Candice admitted, “Yes. She is your daughter.”
Travis needed to know the truth, so they went to a nearby park. “I was too angry when I filed for divorce. Then I found out I was pregnant and didn’t want things to get more complicated, so I kept it from you,” Candice revealed.
“I would’ve stepped up. I never cheated on you. My secretary is long gone from the company, although I couldn’t fire her right away,” Travis clarified.
“I know that now. I think I always knew that, but I needed an excuse to get out. I was not happy, Travis. I know you had to work hard, but I was all alone. I guess I needed more,” his ex-wife expressed.
“I understand. But I want to be part of Ava’s life now. Will you let me? You live around here?”
“Yes, we live near Madison Square Park. Ava’s been wondering about her dad for so long. I’m actually glad the secret is out. Let’s work out a plan so you can be in her life,” Candice agreed. “And… I’m sorry for keeping her from you.”
“Thank you,” Travis replied. He said goodbye to both of them because he still needed to travel to New Jersey but promised Ava he would see her soon.
When he returned, Travis dedicated himself to being Ava’s dad, and eventually, he and Candice fell in love again.
What can we learn from this story?
Don’t make hasty, life-changing decisions when you’re too emotional. Candice should’ve talked to Travis before divorcing him, but she was emotional for several reasons.
Step up and be responsible. As soon as Travis discovered that Ava was his daughter, he stepped up to be her dad.
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