November 17, 2021
When a thief stole Eve’s purse outside a Starbucks, Norman caught him and gave it back. She invited him to her house in gratitude, but he ran away after seeing the portraits in her living room. Eve was waiting for Norman with her father in tow the next day, and their lives changed forever.
“I can’t thank you enough for this. I’m so sorry I was so rude to you before,” Eve told the homeless young man when he returned with her purse.
The 15-year-old girl had just exited her favorite Starbucks in Tampa, Florida when a thief grabbed her bag and ran off. Luckily, the young man ran after the thief and recovered it for her. But Eve felt horrible because she had been rude to him a few minutes earlier before entering the café.
“Don’t worry about it,” the teen said and started to turn away.
The homeless teen in front of the store helped Eve retrieve her purse. | Source: Shutterstock
“Please, what’s your name? How old are you? How can I help you?” Eve asked curiously because she had just seen his face up close. He was much younger than she thought earlier.
“My name is Norman. I’m almost 18. If you can spare a few bucks or maybe buy me a muffin, I’ll be fine,” Norman replied.
“No, that’s not enough. Please, come to my house. Our cook, Lorena, is the best in the city. She’s going to make me a huge breakfast. I just came here because I love my morning vanilla lattes. Please, come!” Eve insisted.
“I don’t know, miss. Are your parents going to be alright with that?” Norman hesitated. He might have been almost her age, but it wasn’t appropriate in his opinion. This girl was rich, and her parents would hate for her to associate with a homeless teenager.
“Don’t call me 'miss.' My name is Eve. Please come with me. My house is nearby,” Eve said and grabbed his arm, urging him to walk with her. They small-chatted on the way to her home, which was only three blocks away. Every single house in the area looked like a mansion.
Eve asked him to wait in the living room. | Source: Pexels
Eve opened the door to her house and invited Norman inside. He hesitated a few seconds at the entrance, thinking he didn’t belong there at all. But Eve called out to him. “Norman, come in already! This is the living room,” she said, smiling when he finally came inside. “You can wait here while I go check if breakfast is ready and ask Lorena to set another plate at the table.”
She left him alone, and Norman looked around her living room. It was spacious, clean, and had expensive furniture he was afraid to sit on. However, he noticed a few photographs on top of the fireplace and went to take a look. One featured Eve with an older man, who must be her father.
Norman picked up the portrait and frowned. Why does this man look familiar? he asked himself. He kept staring at the picture until it clicked. The man looked like an older version of Norman.
“This can only mean one thing…” he whispered, glancing at the other picture frames. Norman began to panic and decided to leave. He returned the portrait to its place and took off. While running through her vast front yard, he heard Eve calling him, but Norman didn’t want to stop. He kept going and didn’t look back at the rich girl, who didn’t have to struggle half as much as he did growing up.
That night they got a motel room, and Norman told his mother what happened. | Source: Pexels
That night, he met up with his mother, Evangeline, at the motel they stayed in a few nights a month whenever they could afford it. Otherwise, they stayed at an abandoned house on the other side of town.
“Hey, Norm. Where have you been all day? Did you eat? I was offered some work cleaning dishes today, so I went to the bakery and got some day-old bread,” his mother announced happily. Usually, he would’ve been happy to hear this because that bread was delicious, but he was angry.
“I think I met my sister today,” he announced.
Evangeline looked at him sharply. “Excuse me?”
“Her name is Eve,” he began and explained everything that happened that morning. “I saw one of their family pictures. Her father looks just like me. Do I look like the man who abandoned us, mom?”
Evangeline teared up and nodded. “Oh, honey. I’m so sorry. Yes, you looked like Tim. It’s crazy how much you do. I thought he had left town. And he’s rich now?” his mother asked painfully.
“Tim… you never told me his name before. Yes, he’s loaded,” Norman answered sadly. He didn’t understand why that man would abandon him and his mother only to form a family a few years later. “Eve can't be older than 15 years old. I thought he left us because he couldn’t handle it.”
Norman made his way Downtown, forgetting that Eve might be at the Starbucks. | Source: Pexels
“You never know what goes on in someone’s mind, Norm. But maybe Tim married a rich woman. Maybe that’s why he left in the first place,” Evangeline sighed. They would never know.
When she told him about her pregnancy, Tim left her almost immediately. Things got rough afterward because she couldn’t work full-time with a newborn baby.
Rent prices spiked, and government assistance was insufficient, so they became homeless when Norman was five. Evangeline never heard from Tim again and couldn’t afford lawyers to find him to sue for child support.
“Well, it doesn’t matter, Mom. We don’t need them or their stupid money. We’re ok. I’m going to get my G.E.D. and start working. The construction company doesn’t hire teenagers, but my birthday is coming up. I’ll get us out of this!” Norman stated with conviction. Evangeline smiled because, despite their hardships, she had raised a good man.
“You’re right, sweetie. Now, come eat.”
The following morning, Norman was back on Main Street, forgetting that Eve might be coming to Starbucks that day. “Norman!” he heard her calling him. He looked up and saw her standing right outside the café with her father.
“Please don’t run!” Eve yelled when Norman was about to split again. She rushed to him and grabbed his arm. “I’m not letting you go!”
Eve saw Norman, and she was with her father. | Source: Pexels
“Let me go, please,” Norman warned softly. However, the older man approached and looked directly at him.
“You’re Evangeline’s son, right?” he asked.
“How do you know that? I didn’t tell Eve anything yesterday,” Norman stated.
“I have cameras in my house. Eve told me what happened and how you suddenly ran off, so I checked security and couldn’t believe my eyes,” the older man revealed.
“You probably thought I stole something, right?”
“No, boy. But even if you had… well, I owe you and your mother a lot of money,” Tim sighed. Norman looked at him strangely and still wanted to run, but Eve was holding him tightly.
“Ok, whatever. What do you want now?” Norman asked angrily.
“I want to talk to you and Evangeline. I can’t turn back time, and I can’t apologize enough for leaving you two. But I have grown since then, and I want to make it up to you both. Will you give me a chance? Can we meet up with your mother?” Tim begged him. Eve chimed in and insisted too.
Evangeline didn't want an apology. She wanted to know why Tim left. | Source: Pexels
Norman agreed mostly because Eve was so eager. He grabbed his cheap phone and called his mother, asking her to come to Starbucks. Evangeline faltered when she saw Tim, but she wanted to hear what he had to say. They all sat down at a table inside the café and ordered.
“Evangeline, thank you for coming to meet us. I don’t know where to begin. But I guess the first thing I should say is I'm sorry,” Tim started.
“I don’t want an apology. It’s too late for that. I want to know why you decided to leave us,” Evangeline interrupted sharply.
“Ok, right to the point. I left because I felt like a loser. When you told me you were pregnant, I panicked. I had no money, no maturity, and no way to raise a child. Running seemed like the best plan. I know now that it was a horrible thing to do. I want to make up for it. Two years after I left, I met Eve’s mother, Ivy, but she died in childbirth,” Tim explained, choking up at the mention of his late wife.
“I’m sorry about that,” Evangeline stated, noting the emotion in his voice. She wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone.
Tim told them everything that happened in his life. | Source: Pexels
“Thank you. I tried to find you when Eve was about two years old. My business had taken off, and I thought it was time for me to pay child support. Also, after I became a father to Eve, I realized that I wanted a relationship with my eldest child. But you didn’t live in your old apartment anymore, and I didn’t know how else to find you,” Tim continued his story.
“Well, we were homeless by then,” Norman added snidely. Evangeline frowned at her son but nodded.
“I’m so sorry about that. If you let me, I’ll pay for all the years I owe you in child support. I also have a few properties. You can stay there for free for as long as you want. Or better yet, I can put one of them in your name. I owe you that,” Tim expressed, starting to get excited about making amends. “Norman, you can ask me for whatever you want. I can buy you a car, and I’ll pay for your college too. But I ask that you give me a chance to earn your forgiveness."
Evangeline looked at Tim and felt sympathy for the man. Eve was crying next to her father and decided to chime in. “I’d like the chance to know you, Norman. You’re my big brother.” Norman smiled at his sister's words.
“Ok…If Norman agrees, I think you deserve a chance,” Evangeline decided. Norman nodded too, but he was still anxious about it. Tim promised to take things slow and asked about Norman's interests. They talked for a few hours that morning.
Norman graduated from college, and his family cheered for him. | Source: Unsplash
Tim kept his word. He gave Evangeline a place to live, and she got a stable job. Norman got his G.E.D. and enrolled in college. It took a few years, but eventually, he started thinking of Tim as his father. Eve treated him like her big brother from day one, and it was impossible not to love her back.
I can’t believe stopping a thief changed my life so much, he thought emotionally, while receiving his college diploma on his graduation day and looking at the people in the crowd. Tim, Eve, and Evangeline were sitting together cheering for him.
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