October 25, 2021
Chester Holland was on his way to a luxury restaurant when he noticed Martha curled up in the middle of the street, begging passersby for food. The man felt sorry for her and offered her help, but there was more to why his gaze was instantly drawn to her.
Chester Holland was a lawyer by profession, and he owned one of the most prestigious law firms in New York called Holland and Partners. The man was quite handsome even at 70, with hazelnut eyes and a grayish tinge to his hair, but unfortunately, law studies never gave him the time to use his charm, and as a result, Chester had neither a wife nor children.
His only housemate was his cook Arthur, who would look after his meals and sometimes listen to his courtroom stories in his free time. However, after Arthur requested a vacation, Chester decided that it was better to eat at a restaurant than to use his excellent cooking skills and adorn the kitchen with food waste.
As a result, this evening, he was on his way to Le Bernardin to enjoy a hearty meal. However, just as he crossed the first street after his house, he noticed Martha curled up in a corner.
It was snowing, and the woman was shivering, staring at everyone with needy eyes, but everyone turned a deaf ear to her. Chester was moved by her innocent eyes, just like the ones he'd seen a few years ago, and decided to approach her. "Hey, my name is Chester. Would you like to join me for dinner tonight?" he asked gently.
Martha, who had been starving for days, was taken aback when she saw the man dressed in a tuxedo approach her and invite her to dine with him. "Well, I'd love to," she admitted, fighting back the tears at his generosity. "However, I am perplexed as to why you would assist a homeless woman like me."
"Well, I'm dining alone tonight, and I'd love to have someone's company," he explained. "So shall we go?"
Martha thanked him once more for his assistance and accompanied him to the restaurant. But the moment she took a seat in the luxurious establishment, the guests began mocking her.
"Oh my goodness, who is she? And what is she doing in such a high-end restaurant?" yelled one of the ladies at the front table.
"I know, right! I wonder how they let her in. Just look at her. She's dressed shabbily and stinks of garbage meat," another complained. "I would have kicked her out of here in no time!"
One of them just crossed the line and went ahead and called the manager. "She doesn't belong here, Mr. Smith," she told him. "I have been a customer at this restaurant for years now. I didn't know you'd allow anyone from the streets to just walk in like that. You better get rid of her right now!"
Tired of hearing the complaints and visitors looking disgustedly at Martha, Mr. Smith approached Chester's table and asked him to escort the woman out. "I'm sorry, sir, but your companion needs to leave. Our other customers are voicing their dissatisfaction, and we can't let that go."
Chester gave him a cold stare. "Well, you don't have the right to kick her out. She'll be staying with me!"
"Please don't force me to call security, sir," Mr. Smith cautioned. "If you don't comply, I'll have to kick you out!"
"Are you sure?" Chester burst out laughing. "Do you understand the law... Mr..." Chester examined Mr. Smith's uniform badge.
"Yeah… Mr. Jason Smith." Chester went on. "I hope you're familiar with the law. If not, you are welcome to visit my office. It's also not difficult to find because I'm assuming you've heard of Holland and Partners. Please take this." Chester handed over his business card that bore his name.
Mr. Smith's eyes widened. "Oh, I am sorry, sir," he immediately apologized. "I didn't know you were a lawyer. I apologize for the inconvenience."
"It's all right, Mr. Smith," Chester said. "Now, I'm hoping you'll send us a waiter instead of wasting my time judging me. I'm already running late for dinner."
"Sure, sir. I'll send one of our waiters right away. I'm sorry again," Mr. Smith said and walked away.
As a waiter approached Chester's table, he placed an order and apologized to Martha. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience; perhaps I should have looked for a better restaurant."
"Oh, no, it's not your fault," Martha said. "In fact, I am grateful to you for your help. I hope I can return the favor someday."
"Well, you're already doing me a favor by giving me company tonight, so don't feel embarrassed about anything," Chester said with a smile.
Soon, the waiter brought them their food, and while Martha ate, Chester couldn't take his gaze away from her. She really hadn't eaten in days. It's good that I found her and brought her here. Chester thought to himself.
Suddenly, Martha looked up and caught him staring. "What's wrong? Why are you looking at me like that?" she inquired, her mouth still filled with food. "Is there something on my face?"
Chester smiled at her. "Do you really not remember me, Martha?"
Martha was stunned. "What? Have we met before?"
"Yes, Martha, we did," Chester said. "It all happened 38 years ago..."
"I was a broke student who was evicted because I couldn't pay my rent. I went inside a cafe hoping to get at least warm. You worked as a waitress there. I was afraid I'd be escorted out, but instead, you offered me food and didn't charge me a dime.
"I refused to give up that day. I applied for internships and eventually landed a position at a law firm. Because of you, I now own one of New York's most prestigious law firms."
Chester's eyes welled up as he continued. "I recognized you right away when I saw you on the street...You know I returned to that cafe looking for you, but they informed me that you had been fired."
"Ahh, now I remember you," Martha said and she started to tear up. "Actually, one of my colleagues complained to my boss about helping you. I was fired, and it took me a long time to find another job. Everywhere I went, I found part-time work, so I survived for a while, but all that hard work took its toll on me, and I ended up losing everything, from my health to my home."
"Well, if you don't mind, you can stay at my house," Chester offered. "Think of it as a way for me to repay you for your kindness."
Reflecting upon how she'd been living her life for almost a year, Martha accepted Chester's offer and moved in with him. And finally, a few years down the line, what began as an encounter for helping out a broke student turned into love, and the couple recently decided to tie the knot.
Martha is now preparing to open her restaurant in New York.
What can we learn from this story?
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