Billy Hudson worked on a small ranch where he grazed cattle and grew crops to support his son, Mark. His wife had left them a few years ago.
Billy was a dedicated and hardworking man who wished for his son to follow in his footsteps. But unfortunately for him, little Mark had plans like nothing his father could have imagined, for, unlike his father, the 10-year-old boy dreamed of becoming a famous singer one day.
However, he needed regular practice and the right environment to accomplish this. And there was only one place in their entire village where he could get that: the local church choir. The group was known for their generosity and kindness to the poor people in the village.
One day while Billy was on his way back from the ranch on a wintry evening, a poor man collided with him, and all the grains Billy had just taken out of the farm fell onto the ground.
The poor man got scared and began apologizing right away. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you coming.”
But Billy just lost his cool. “Oh really? Are you blind?! Can’t you see properly?”
“It’s just that…” the poor man began speaking, but Billy interrupted him.
“Wait, were you planning on stealing something from the farm and fleeing, but you collided with me in the process?!”
“No sir, nothing like that,” the poor man spoke up. “I was just passing by and didn’t see you because it’s dark!”
“Stop making excuses!” Billy yelled at him. “I know you did it on purpose. That’s the problem with people like you. You guys just sit around begging all day and don’t do any work. I’m curious as to how you raise your children. I’ll make sure my son stays away from anything that has to do with beggars and scumbags like you!”
“But sir…” Before the man could explain himself, Billy pushed him into the river beside the farm. The water was freezing, and the man yelled that he didn’t know how to swim, but Billy turned a deaf ear to him. Thankfully, a few villagers noticed the feud and stepped in to assist the poor man.
Meanwhile, little Mark had gone to the farm that evening to tell his father about his plans to join the choir, but he was discouraged when he heard his father hurling abuses at the poor man for nothing. “I hate you for this, dad. I really do. I will make sure you regret this,” Mark promised.
The next day, Billy dropped Mark off at school before heading to the farm. But Mark didn’t show up for his classes. He skipped school in order to participate in the church choir.
The school principal was concerned when he saw him leave the school gate and called Billy. “Is everything okay at home? Mark was standing outside the school gate, but he didn’t come in.”
Billy was perplexed. “What? But I dropped him just now!”
“Maybe he’s sick, Mr. Hudson,” the principal said. “You know the weather’s cold these days. Make sure he’s fine.”
“He was fine in the morning. Maybe he forgot something and went home. I’ll check and let you know,” Billy answered and hung up the call.
Billy looked all over but couldn’t find Mark. He searched the farm, the playground, and even called his friends for help, but no one knew where he was. Dejected, he almost collapsed on the ground when it suddenly hit him. While eating breakfast this morning, Mark was discussing the church choir and Billy had screamed at him, telling him he shouldn’t go there.
So Billy drove to the church. When he arrived, he noticed Mark conversing with a young boy. “It’s all right, you can have it. My father works on a farm, so we get a lot of yields every year,” Mark said.
“But what if your dad learns about this? He lashed out at my father that day just because they collided by mistake,” the boy said.
“Don’t worry about that. My dad won’t know. Even if he does, it’s okay. The priest gave this to me because he liked my singing a lot,” Mark said as he handed the poor boy a bag of rice.
The poor boy took the bag and was just about to leave when Billy approached his son. “Is this what I’m paying your school fees for? To do some stupid charity and taking others’ side? If I’m not mistaken, this boy is the poor man’s son with whom I quarreled the other day, right?” he yelled at Mark.
The poor boy looked at Mark, got scared, and ran away, leaving the bag on the church stairs. Mark chased him down to hand it over, but his father stopped him. “You are staying away from those creeps, Mark! Enough is enough!”
At this point, Mark lost his cool. “Are you serious, dad? You don’t have a heart at all, do you? You threw his father into freezing water because he collided with you, and now you’re yelling at me for assisting someone in need?!
“Do you even know that I had a hard time convincing the church authorities to let me join the choir because of your mistake? The villagers already hate you for what you did!”
“Well, it was his fault he collided with me! And who knows, he could have robbed the ranch!” Billy said.
“And what if he actually couldn’t see you, dad? I was there that day! You just hate the poor and those who don’t work as hard as you. But you know what, they’re far better than you! At least they don’t disrespect others and look down upon them!” Mark yelled and sat in the truck.
Billy fell silent. He had never expected his 10-year-old son to lash out at him like that. But that day, he realized how wrong he had been. He quietly returned to the truck and drove to an old house. It turned out to be the man’s house with whom he fought the previous day.
Mark couldn’t hear what Billy was saying to the poor man, but he was worried that his father would start another fight. He looked out of the window to see what was happening, but then Billy approached the truck again.
Mark knew that there was a gun in the car and he was frightened that his father would do something terrible in anger. But to his surprise, Billy pulled out a large plastic bag stuffed with grains and vegetables and handed it to the poor man’s family.
Mark was shocked. “Dad? Really … I mean …?”
“I’m sorry, Mark,” Billy said. “I was so preoccupied with my thoughts and beliefs that I completely forgot about other people’s feelings.”
“Honestly, I struggled because I never took my studies seriously and couldn’t find work. We didn’t have enough money before I started working on the ranch, so your mother died. As a result, I despised poverty and everything associated with it. But now I see how wrong I was. Thanks for making me realize that!”
Mark hugged him. “It’s okay, Dad. I’m glad you realized you were wrong.”
From that day on, the son and father became closer than ever. Billy also supported Mark’s dream, and he sent him to the city to finish his education. After completing high school, Mark concentrated on his music career and became a successful singer.