Man shoveling snow. | Source: Getty Images
Cherry pie, a few meals, and Noah’s kindness helped him befriend his former neighbor, Mrs. Garner, who was deeply grateful to him for shoveling her yard daily. But one day she mysteriously disappeared and he found a desolate “FOR SALE” sign in her garden.
As Noah sat at the kitchen table in his new home, he couldn’t help but wonder how his life had taken a strange turn over the past few months. Six months ago he lost his wife to cancer and embraced the role of single father.
Chris, Tim and Harry were quiet and obedient children, but Noah struggled to balance parenthood and work. He was a teacher, and one day he received a job offer from a small school in a remote neighborhood. The hours were less and the pay wasn’t great, but Noah accepted it, hoping to find a better balance in life.
“I guess it wasn’t all bad,” he thought to himself when the doorbell rang. When he opened the door, he found an older woman in his doorway. She was holding a cherry pie in her hands, and a small smile appeared on her lips when she saw it…
” Hi young man ! she said happily. “I’m Mrs. Garner and I live next door to you. See, it’s good to have new friends, so I thought I’d pay you a visit. Here’s for you and your little children,” she added, spreading the pie.
“Oh, that’s really nice of you,” Noah said shyly, accepting it. “I’m Noah, by the way. Thanks for the pie. Would you like some tea?
“I would love that, thanks,” she said smiling.
We are all bound by the ties of humanity and need each other.
So Noah served him tea and cookies and told him he had moved to a new house after his wife died.
“This must be difficult for you,” Ms Garner said apologetically. “But this job opportunity looks good. I’m glad you took it.”
“Thank you,” Noah said. “It’s a bit lonely here, though. Like, I don’t know anyone, and my kids…I don’t feel safe leaving them alone.”
“Oh, honey, then you could use the help!” Ms. Garner advised. “I live alone and I have no one. How about I help you?”
“Thanks, but…are you sure? I don’t want to bother you.”
“Always! I’m always happy to help,” Mrs. Garner replied.
“Speaking of which,” Noah paused. “I noticed your garden needed shoveling… I moved here a week ago, and I see you have no help. How about I clean it up for you?”
“Oh!” she laughed. “I’m an old bird, darling, and I don’t need it.”
“Please,” he insisted. “I want to do it for you.”
“Well, if you insist, then that’s fine. Thanks, Noah.”
So Noah started shoveling Mrs. Garner’s yard every day, and soon they became good friends. He knew that she was fragile and alone, and that she needed help, so he often visited her and helped her.
One morning, Noah was late shoveling snow and Mrs. Garner broke her hip after slipping on the ice. He immediately called 911 and stayed by her side until paramedics arrived.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Garner was bedridden and could not move. Noah and his three little superheroes took care of the old lady, bringing her hot meals and listening to her wonderful stories.
Noah also taught Mrs. Garner to walk again, hoping to motivate her to get out of bed and out of the house. Sometimes he wondered why there were no family photos at her house, and he once tried to talk to her about it, but she cried and he didn’t ask her anything more.
One day, Noah stopped by her house for dinner and was puzzled when she asked him to stop helping her.
“I don’t need you to shovel my driveway, and I have no intention of leaving the house, Noah,” she said.
“Are you okay, Mrs. Garner?” he asked, confused. “Is something bothering you?”
“Oh, what would bother an old lady like me?” I just want to stay in my house, and I don’t want to be a burden.
“You are not a burden, Mrs. Garner,” Noah explained softly. “I’m happy to help you, just like you help me with my children. And all our hard work will be wasted if you don’t start walking again! I want to help you.”
With tears in her eyes, Ms. Garner said, “You have a beautiful heart, sweetheart. Thanks for everything you do for me.
“No problem, Mrs. Garner. I’m just doing you a favor,” Noah told the older woman that day.
He didn’t know she would be gone a week later, and he’ll find a “FOR SALE” sign in his yard.
That morning, Noah was surprised not to find her at home. He had a spare key, so he could access Mrs. Garner’s house. Suddenly he saw a young man peek into the yard.
“Yes?” Noah shouted from the porch. “Do you need something?”
The man tensed. “Uh, well, who are you?” He asked.
“I’m the owner’s neighbor,” Noah introduced himself. “And you are-“
“I’m Peter,” the man said. “I’m his son, actually. I was just checking what work was needed here before the house was sold…”
Peter told Noah that he had moved Mrs. Garner to a nursing home and was putting her house up for sale.
Noah asked him for the address of the nursing home and why he had never visited, and Peter said, “I moved here last week for a job opportunity, and my wife and children need me… Mom has needed a lot of help lately; I mean, right? I can’t be there for her because I have a family of my own, so I moved her to a nursing home.
Noah felt bad that Mrs. Garner’s son didn’t care about her and suddenly remembered how depressed she had been a week ago. When he visited, she sobbed into his shoulders, explaining how lonely she felt after her husband’s death and Peter’s departure.
Noah insisted she move in with him and his kids, but she refused, saying she didn’t want to bother him. But when he came back the next day with his children and tried to persuade her again, she couldn’t say no.
“You have been family to us, Mrs. Graner,” Noah told her. “And we never thought of you as a liability. We’d love to have you home!”
So while she was rejected by her son, Noah and his children gave Mrs. Garner a loving home. And Peter soon tasted his own medicine.
When Noah picked up his children from school, he met Peter outside the principal’s office and learned that Peter’s daughter was very disrespectful to teachers and other elders.
“Well, the kids do what they see,” Noah told him angrily as he walked away with the kids, and Peter was embarrassed by what he had done. He showed up on Noah’s porch a few days later and apologized to Mrs. Garner for not being a good son.
Over time, Peter has changed for the better, and he often checks on Mrs. Garner now.
What can we learn from this story?
- Treat others as you would like to be treated. Peter realized that it had been awful to corner his elderly mother when he saw her daughter disrespecting the elders around her.
- We are all bound by the ties of humanity and need each other. Mrs. Garner helped Noah and his children, and the young man and his children welcomed her as a member of the family.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you liked this story, you might like the story of a young boy who cleaned up his older neighbor’s yard to reunite her with the man she lost 25 years ago.
This piece is inspired by stories from the daily lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or places is purely coincidental. All images are for illustrative purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.