Woman Calls Homeless Girl a Thief, Then She Saves Her Life – Story of the Day
An older woman is always ranting at the homeless people who gather on her street, but one day one of them shames her with an act of kindness.
Amelia Carter was angry. Fifty years ago, she and her husband had moved into a pretty street in New York, into a lovely brownstone they had saved and scrimped to buy.
It was in that home that they had lived together, where they had raised their son. It was in that brownstone that her husband Ian had died, and where Amelia intended to die too.
But the once peaceful neighborhood had changed. There were people panhandling on street corners, and indigents sleeping on the doorsteps. Amelia was outraged. This was HER neighborhood...
Winter arrived abruptly, a cold, vicious New York winter that sent a razor-blade wind whistling down the avenues and hung ice from the trees, glazed the pavements, and made Amelia's bones ache.
Amelia was on her way out when she saw a figure curled up on her porch, covered in a tattered blanket and newspapers. "Here!" she cried and poked at the figure with her walking stick. "What are you doing here?"
The figure moved, and a small, frightened face peeked out. "Please... I didn't do any harm...I just wanted to be out of the snow..."
"I know what you wanted!" Amelia cried, "You wanted to steal from me! But you couldn't, could you? I have triple locks on my door!"
"No..." the girl was shaking her head. "I'm not a thief..."
"Out," screamed Amelia, waving her walking stick at the girl, "Out or I call the police!"
The girl grabbed her blanket and dived out of Amelia's porch as if the Devil was after her. There! thought Amelia, that will teach her. She walked carefully down the steps, leaning on her cane, and went off to run her errands.
Three days later, Amelia was on her way to the mailbox to mail her Christmas cards early one morning when she lost her footing on the slippery pavement outside her house. She fell to the ground with a frightened cry.
Amelia thought that because Sharon was homeless she was dishonest.
Amelia lay there flat on her back. There was no one around, no cars driving past. It was Sunday. It might be hours before anyone found her. She would freeze to death. Her handbag with her cell phone was out of reach...
Amelia was overcome with despair when she heard a voice. "Lady, are you alright?" The same girl she'd run off her porch was standing over her.
"No!" snapped Amelia, "I can't move, and everything hurts. Call 911!"
The girl shook her head. "I don't have a phone, I'll knock on one of the doors..."
"My handbag... There's a phone...But don't you rob me, you little thief"
Amelia watched as the girl opened her handbag and took out her phone. She dialed and spoke to the operator, explained Amelia's condition, and gave the address.
Then she came back and squatted down next to Amelia. She reached into her tattered backpack and pulled out the ratty blanket. She carefully covered Amelia. "It's cold," she said, "And you might go into shock."
Ten minutes later the ambulance was there, and to Amelia's surprise, she heard the girl ask if she could ride along with her 'grandmother.' Grandmother! thought Amelia indignantly, as if, as her real granddaughter would say!
At the hospital, the girl insisted on accompanying Amelia, clutching her handbag. Amelia was examined and x-rayed and waited on an ER bed for the result of the exams.
The girl stood next to her the entire time. "Your bag is here," the girl said shyly, "Is there anyone you want me to call?"
Amelia bit her lips. She was in so much pain! "My son... My son lives in Germany with his wife and children. There's no one." The girl moved closer and gently took Amelia's hand.
"I know what it's like to be alone," she said, and Amelia felt strangely comforted by the girl's presence. At that moment the doctor walked in.
"Mrs. Carter? The good news is, nothing is broken, the bad news is that you have extensive deep-tissue bruising on your back, and that is going be painful and limit your mobility for a while."
Amelia was about to reply when a policeman who was walking past stopped and stared at the girl holding her hand. "Excuse me," he said, "What is your name?"
Amelia felt the girl's hand clutch at hers. "What is it that you want, young man?" she asked.
"Sorry, Ma'm. This girl looks like the photo we were sent from Nebraska of a runaway, they asked us to be on the lookout." The girl was radiating fear, and Amelia made up her mind.
"This is my granddaughter, Amy Carter, officer, I can assure you she's no runaway." The policeman thanked her politely and walked on.
The doctor looked relieved. "I'm glad you have your granddaughter with you, Mrs. Carter, you are going to need a lot of help over the next month or so!"And so Amelia went home with 'Amy,' whose name was actually Sharon. Sharon explained to Amelia that she was an orphan, and she was nearly 17.
She had been placed in a foster home at 13, where she had been beaten; passed on to a second home where she had been starved, and in her last placing she had encountered an abuser.
Sharon had run away to New York, hoping to find a distant cousin of her mother's but found out the woman was dead. "Well," said Amelia, "when I'm back on my feet we'll sort this out."
And she did. With Amelia's help, Sharon filed a complaint against her foster family. Amelia asked for Sharon to be placed in her care for six months until she turned 18, and promptly adopted her. Now neither of them would ever be alone again.
What can we learn from this story?
1. Don't judge people by their appearance. Amelia thought that because Sharon was homeless she was dishonest, but she was a kind and loving girl.
2. Kindness is always rewarded. Sharon's act of kindness ended up bringing her what she most desired, a home and a loving family.
Share this story with your friends. It might inspire people to share their own stories or to help someone else.
Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who mistreated a disabled waiter and learned a life lesson.