Inspirational Stories

October 30, 2021

Bum Finds Book in Dumpster and Old Envelope with Photo inside Falls Out – Story of the Day

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Sean’s adoptive mother died when he turned 18, and after mixing up with bad people, he became homeless. During one of his dumpster dives, he discovered an old copy of his favorite childhood book. It also contained a picture with an address. He never imagined what he would learn there.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Carver. We can’t do anything to help you. The bank will have to repossess your home,” an executive at the bank told him two years ago. Sean remembered that conversation well.

His adoptive mother, Linda, died when he was 18, and unfortunately, he started hanging out with Liam, who would soon become nothing more than a drug dealer and criminal. Liam stole all of Sean’s savings, leaving Sean unable to pay the mortgage on his house. The bank took it after several months of warnings.


Sean discovered a book he used to love in the dumpster. | Source: Shutterstock

So at 20, Sean was homeless and had no resume to speak of. Finding a job was almost impossible without an address. But he settled into his new life by dumpster diving for food.


He knew nothing about his biological family. They must have had a reason for giving me up back then, Sean mused while walking the streets looking for a dumpster to search. He found one in an empty alley.

Luckily, there was an old pizza box with a few slices that were still good enough to eat. Sean also noticed a huge box filled with old books. I could probably sell some of these at a thrift store, he considered.

He grabbed the box and started sorting through some of the books. That’s when he discovered The Three Musketeers, his favorite childhood book. His mother read it to him at night for several years, and there was something about D'Artagnan that spoke to him.


Maybe my subconscious knew that I would become poor someday, Sean thought sarcastically. He only hoped to be able to make a fortune one day. In the end, he could only carry a few books in his bag, including that one.

He read the book that night and discovered something. | Source: Pexels


Sean sold the books to the local thrift shop owner, who often took pity on him. But he kept The Three Musketeers. It was nice to have a reminder of his mother, as he couldn’t keep anything from his childhood home when the bank repossessed it.

That night, under the bridge he called “home,” Sean read the lines that he memorized as a child and was transported into a world of adventure much different from his current situation. He was almost halfway through the book when an envelope fell out. The front didn’t have anything except a return address.

Sean opened the envelope and saw a photograph. It showed a couple with two boys. One of them must have been around ten years old, and the other was a toddler.


Sean focused his attention on the adult man in the picture. Strangely, the man looked just like him. Then he looked at the young boys, his gaze falling on the toddler who was carrying a red blanket. Sean remembered having the same blanket.

The address led him to an apartment building. | Source: Pexels


Could it be my birth family? he asked himself. Why was this picture inside this book? He had many questions, and the address on the envelope was his only hope at answering them.

The following morning, he walked toward the area. The address pointed at a decent apartment building. He wouldn’t be able to go inside with his appearance, but Sean decided to ask the security guard for assistance. He inquired if the guard knew of the people in the photo, but the young guard did not recognize them.

“Sir, do you mind letting me in and knocking on their apartment?” Sean asked, hopefully.

“Nah, man. I would lose my job if I let a stranger in,” the guard told him.


Sean waited outside for people to come out and asked each one if they recognized anyone in the picture. A few people ignored him, and others answered “no.”

A no-nonsense older woman invited him inside. | Source: Pexels


But then an older lady walked up to the entrance of the building. She was carrying two full bags of groceries. “Hello, ma’am. Can you help me? Do you know any of these people?” Sean questioned. The woman stopped and looked at the picture.

She frowned and looked up at Sean. “What’s your name, young man?” she asked.

“My name is Sean Carver, ma’am. I was adopted as a young kid. But my mother died. Now, I’m trying to find my bio-family. I think I’m the little boy in the picture. Do you know anything about the couple?” Sean asked.

“Here. Help me with these bags. Let’s go in,” the woman stated in a no-nonsense manner. Sean grabbed the bags and followed her inside.


“My name is Emilia White. You can call me Mrs. White. Now, you need a shower, a change of clothes, and a decent meal. Here’s the bathroom,” Mrs. White announced when they got inside her apartment.

“Ma’am, I don’t need any of—”

“Nonsense. Chop, chop!” Mrs. White interrupted and clapped her hands so Sean would get moving. He followed her instructions, and she cooked him the best meal he had had in years.

His dad's friend, John, couldn't believe it was Sean. | Source: Pexels


“Please, Mrs. White. Can you tell me anything about this family?” Sean asked.

“Yes, I knew them. The couple was Oscar and Joslyn McNeil. The older boy here is Camden, and the baby is Sean,” Mrs. White revealed. Sean’s eyes watered, but the older woman was not done.

She explained that his parents died in a car accident. Oscar’s friend, John, adopted Camden, but he didn’t know how to handle a younger child, so he arranged for Sean to be adopted.

“Are you sure of all this, Mrs. White?” Sean inquired.

“I have no doubts. Now that you’re all cleaned up, I can see that you are the spitting image of Oscar. It’s uncanny,” Mrs. White confirmed. She offered him a place to stay for the night, but Sean asked him for John’s address. He wanted to meet his big brother.


He visited John that same night. The older man opened the door, and his jaw went slack. “Oscar? Is that you?” John wondered in awe.

“Hmmm, well, no. I’m Sean,” he answered.

Sean explained everything to John and how he found his address. His father’s friend invited him inside, and they sat down for a chat.

John now had a pizza empire, which he founded with Sean's dad. | Source: Pexels


“You won't believe how I’ve blamed myself for not taking both of you boys in. But I was a bachelor. Your father and I had a pizza business to grow. I thought raising an almost-teenager would be easier,” John clarified.

“It wasn’t bad at all. My adoptive mother was wonderful, but she died a few years ago. I did some things I’m not proud of and ended up homeless,” Sean uttered.

“Well, those days are over. I managed to grow our pizzeria into an empire here in Chicago. Do you know The Corner Grill Pizzeria? That’s mine, and now, yours too,” John added.

“Oh, wow. Well, I was there a few times with my mother years ago. I can’t believe that’s where my bio-dad worked,” Sean marveled. “But, I mean… legally, you don’t have any obligation to give me something.”


“Of course, I do! This is my chance to redeem myself, and you get to meet Camden too. He recently became the general manager of the business,” John added.

His dad’s friend offered him a place to stay that night, then he helped him rent an apartment nearby and offered him an entry-level job at one of the pizzeria locations to get him started. Sean also got a chance to meet his big brother, who took him under his wing immediately.

John visited Sean's apartment and gave him a big surprise. | Source: Pexels


A few months later, John visited him and gave him a check. “More money? John, I can’t accept this. You’ve already helped me too much,” Sean tried to decline the offer.

“No, it’s not enough. You saw my house, right? You saw Camden’s apartment, right? The money came from years of building this business, which also belongs to you. You deserve part of it too. Look at the check,” John insisted.

“TWO MILLION DOLLARS? WHAT?” Sean exclaimed in shock. John smiled and offered him a hug. Sean cried on his shoulder, grateful to have found John who became the father figure he never truly had.

Meanwhile, Camden became his best friend. "Can I ask you something?" he asked him one random day.  "You know I found a return address and a picture of our family in a discarded Three Musketeers book. Do you know why it was there?” 


Camden explained that their mom also read him The Three Musketeers. | Source: Pexels

“Oh, that’s where it went. John kept that picture and envelope from our house. His theory was that Dad was going to send it to someone but didn’t get a chance. I looked at that picture every day and hid it inside my favorite book,” Camden replied.


“It’s my favorite book too! Mary, my adoptive mom, read it to me every night for many years,” Sean explained.

“That’s funny. Our mom did that too,” Camden revealed. Sean laughed and couldn’t believe the coincidence. The book kept him connected to his family in different ways, and in the end, it saved him too.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Family is not necessarily blood-related. Sean’s adoptive mother loved and raised him. Meanwhile, John also loved Camden and took in Sean without question.
  • You never know what you will find hidden in a book. It might be an inspirational quote or story, and sometimes, it could be something inside that could save a life.


Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them. 

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who discovered her daughter’s missing boyfriend in the house.

This account is inspired by our reader’s story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration 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