Mary was an octogenarian who had lived a fulfilled life following her passions, wherever they led her. She started out as a ballet dancer in college while she studied to be a nurse.
After years of dancing and learning, she became a military nurse and got transferred to Vietnam, where she helped save many lives with her skilled hands.
Mary did that for a couple of years before she moved back to the states to work in an orphanage where she watched over many kids while helping them find new and suitable homes.
She did it all with grace for years until she retired due to old age. Even so, she kept on doing good deeds around her neighborhood, and people loved and trusted her enough to leave their kids with her on short notice whenever an emergency came up.
All the good she did was what made the police pay her a visit.
“Officer Stanton,” she greeted the cop who showed up on her doorstep.
Mary often helped him watch his niece whenever he needed to pull all-nighters at work, so they were familiar with each other.
“Good morning Mary,” he said as he entered her home. “I’ve come with a job only you can do.”
“I’m all ears Stan,” she said, a glint in her eye.
The following day, Mary went to a grocery shop to buy things for her kitchen. Cooking was one of her specialties, and the job Stanton gave her required her to be at a store.
Mary was not what she used to be; the years had not been very kind on her bones which meant she could not move around without a walking cane, and she could not bend either because of her hurting joints.
That day, she bought all she needed, including some apples and vegetables, then she stood near the door of the store, waiting with her full, busting grocery bag in hand.
After about a minute, a ten-year-old boy named Oliver entered the store; he looked a bit unhappy as he browsed the store catalogs. He paid particular attention to a shiny pair of roller skates, but he made no move to reach for it.
After spending minutes staring at the things he could not afford to own, he headed outside. As he approached the area where Mary stood, her bag ripped, spilling apples and many other items everywhere.
She struggled to bend over to reach them but was having trouble getting down on her knees because of her arthritis. When she almost toppled over in her attempts, Oliver rushed over to her side to steady her.
He helped her get a new bag to carry the groceries and also picked up all the spilled contents.
“Here’s everything ma’am, could you check to make sure it’s all there?” he asked.
“Thank you son. I spy an apple under that shelf though,” Mary answered.
Oliver got it for her and offered to help her carry the bags outside where she could get a taxi to take her home. They spoke as they walked.
“Thank you very much young man,” Mary started. “I don’t know what I would have done had you not come around.”
“It was nothing ma’am, I’m just glad I could help,” he replied, a blush spreading across his chubby cheeks.
“I noticed how sad you looked in the store. Is everything alright?”
“Of course ma’am, it’s just, today is my 10th birthday but I don’t get to receive gifts because of how poor my family is.”
“Oh that’s sad,” Mary said. “What would you like for your birthday?”
“I want roller skates,” whispered Oliver.
“Perhaps you’ll get it,” Mary told him with a wink.
In truth, Mary had not spilled her food by mistake. Stanton’s job required her to do it, and she had agreed.
The job had to do with a community project aimed at promoting good deeds, and the plan was for her to pack a defective bag full of food and wait for it to spill. Anyone who came to her aid would be rewarded.
Mary wore a hidden mic, and officers from the police department had placed mini cameras around and inside the store so they could watch elaborate acts from their customers.
That day, it was Oliver who came to her aid, and he did despite how sad he had been feeling. So Mary was very happy when she signaled the cops.
Moments later, Stanton exited the store holding a present and approached Oliver.
“This is yours boy,” he said. “It’s a reward for being so good to her.”
Oliver could not believe his ears and eyes. It seemed he got a birthday present after all, and they were brand new roller skates! Exactly what he wanted. He gave Mary a great big hug and ran off with his present.
The police force decided to show the community they were not just concerned with punishing people for committing crimes; they could also reward acts of kindness.
If you see a chubby little boy skating by on golden roller skates, then you know who you’ve seen.
What did we learn from this story?
- Doing good comes back full circle. Oliver had no way of knowing that his kind act would be rewarded, but he did it anyway. He was sad, but he did not let that stop him from helping the struggling Mary, and he did not regret it.
- Be kind to strangers. Oliver had never met Mary before he saw her at the store; however, he still charged in to help her when she was having problems. He could have ignored her but did he? No. He helped her, and in the end, got rewarded for it.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a poor man who found a baby in the trash outside his work but couldn’t take the child home because his wife hated kids.