An old lady walking down the street | Source: Shutterstock
An old lady walking down the street | Source: Shutterstock

Old Lady Sells House to Help Grandson and Vanishes, a Year Later She Turns Up — Story of the Day

Roshanak Hannani
Nov 22, 2021
02:40 A.M.

Winona sold her house to save her grandson Tommy's life but placed him in foster care to get back on her feet. But when she returned, Tommy had been adopted, so she rushed and did the unthinkable.


Each passing minute outside the operation theater started weighing heavier. It had been five agonizing hours since 55-year-old Winona's precious grandson, Tommy, 5, was rushed in for heart surgery.

Finally, the door swung open, and the doctor came out, taking off his scrub cap, as Winona ran to him anxiously…

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"Mrs. Taylor, great news! The operation was a success. Your grandson will regain consciousness shortly," said the doctor as Winona teared up.

It felt like a thousand tonnes were lifted off her shoulders when Winona heard those words. She smiled through her tears at seeing little Tommy in the hospital bed.


"Mrs. Taylor?" The doctor interrupted Winona. "Sorry for asking you this…I overheard you talking on the phone earlier about selling your house. Did you have to sell it for your grandson's heart surgery?"

A grave silence and an untold agony flushed into Winona's face as she tearfully looked up at the doctor. "It's just a house, doctor…I would do anything for my grandson…even trade my life to save his life if that was what God wanted. Tommy's all I've got…"

Having said that, Winona retired to the hallway outside the ward and slipped out her phone. "Yes, I'm at the City Hospital…" She informed child protective services. "I'm ready to sign the necessary paperwork and hand over my grandson…will be waiting for you."

It was an unbearably difficult decision for Winona. She had sold her humble house on the outskirts of town to afford Tommy's surgery. Now with no roof over their heads and nothing much left in savings, she decided to put him in foster care until she got back on her feet.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images


When the CPS arrived, Winona tearfully explained her situation to them. "...but it's just a temporary arrangement, Sir," Winona told the social workers. "I'll hopefully return in a year to take my grandson with me once I stabilize my finances and get a new house. Till then, I want Tommy to have someone to look after him."

As soon as she signed the placement agreement, Winona gingerly walked into Tommy's ward and brushed his soft chestnut hair while he was still unconscious.

"Goodbye, sweetie," Winona teared up. "Grandma will come back for you. I promise. Just hold on, love. And forgive me. I have to do this…for us. Just one year. Time will fly!"

Deep inside, a creeping sensation settled in Winona's heart. She was plagued by the thought of whether she would ever be able to keep her promise. Gathering her broken pieces, Winona kissed Tommy on his forehead and left the ward with tears brimming in her eyes.

With only $100 in her purse, Winona drove to Missouri after talking to her wealthy friend, Doris, who offered her a job at her seafood packing company. She took it gladly and worked twice as hard to make as much as possible.

Winona barely slept and took a nighttime gig as a gas station attendant to make even more. The goal was to buy a cozy little house so she could have Tommy back.


A year passed before she noticed, and it was time to return to Montana.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Winona finally arrived at her destination, and the first thing she did was call the social workers. "Yeah, it's me! I'm on my way to take my grandson home."

But her excitement faded, and what she heard on the other end of the line stabbed like daggers in her heart.

"Mrs. Taylor, your grandson was adopted a few weeks after you transferred his custody," the person informed.

"What do you mean someone adopted him?" she retorted. "I told you I would return to take him in a year…"

"Mrs. Taylor, your grandson was put in a foster system…and we did what was best for the boy when a kind couple expressed interest in adopting him. That's how our system works. Moreover, you had signed the paperwork."


"Fine…Can I please have the name and address of his adoptive parents?" Winona requested. The social worker agreed reluctantly. Fortunately, their home was nearby.

"Yes?" a petite woman answered the door. She was Aileen, Tommy's adoptive mother.

"Hello…I'm Winona, Tommy's Grandma…Can I see him?" Winona said, getting to the point.

"Dave…Can you come here for a second?" Aileen anxiously called out loudly for her husband.

Dave's face drained of color when his wife told him about their visitor. But the couple was courteous. They invited her inside to know why she had come.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


"So…Mrs. Taylor, it's a pleasure to meet you…" Dave said, making big eyes, gesturing for Winona to speak up.

Winona took a deep breath and explained everything, including how she had always told CPS she would be back for Tommy.

"We're pleased you came to visit us, Mrs. Taylor. But what exactly do you want? See your grandson?" Aileen asked hesitantly.

"See him? No, I want him back. I'm back on my feet and care for him now. I think Tommy will be better off with his grandma now," she replied.

Dave and Aileen grew unsettled.

"Well, Mrs. Taylor. We've been living with Tommy for almost a year now," Aileen said. "We love him. We don't want to part with him. Tommy loves us, too."

"My wife's right," Dave took it from there. "We can provide him with everything he needs growing up. We own a small café at the end of this street. You can visit him anytime."

Winona couldn't believe their words. "Visit him??" she angrily rose from the couch. "I'm not a guest…I'm Tommy's Grandma. I raised him all his life after he lost his parents in a car crash. Who are you?"


"Remember that you're standing on our property, Mrs. Taylor," Dave sternly said, pointing at Winona. "You're not taking our boy."

"We legally adopted him. Tommy is our son, and he stays here," Aileen added.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"Well, if this is how it will be, so be it. I would've never wanted to do this, but you've left me with no choice. I'll see you in court," Winona threatened the couple.

Dave and Aileen were not intimidated, challenging the older woman back and kicking her out of the house. Despite her bravado, Winona was scared, as she got a cap and started calling lawyers.

Unfortunately, the lawyer she chose told her she didn't have a case because Tommy's adoptive parents had signed all the paperwork. Legally, he was their son. Her chances of winning were slim, mainly because the parents had a stable income and a good reputation.


She left his office defeated and walked home, sad and terrified until two drunk homeless men got in her way.

"Hey, lady…" one of the guys said. "Mind sparing some change?"

Winona shook her head and tried to pass by, but an idea struck. "Hey, wait a minute. What if I give you $1,000…in exchange for a small favor?"

"Did you say $1,000?! Of course, lady! What do you want us to do?"

Later that night, the two guys were outside Brewz & Cupz Café. Adorning black masks, they paced back and forth, waiting for the right time. The men emptied gasoline bottles into the cafe and threw a Molotov cocktail, setting the place on fire.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


The next morning, Winona's phone rang loudly. "Mrs. Taylor, it's Attorney Benjamin here…we still have a chance!"

Winona's face lit up as she sprang out of bed. "We do?"

The lawyer explained that Tommy's adoptive parents had just lost their livelihood and were also in terrible debt, which could make a difference in court.

A week later, Winona explained her story to a judge, hoping for sympathy and understanding. Her year of sacrifice and hard work was hard to talk about, but it was necessary to tell her story.

"Mr. Dixon, your café recently burned down. Would it in any way affect how you intend to raise the boy? Can you please detail your present financial condition?" Winona's lawyer chimed in.

Dave was uncomfortable but explained that he and Aileen were looking for jobs while their insurance assessed the damage and paid them to restore the café.

Winona's lawyer brought up his mortgage, and the man revealed they were still making payments. It was brutal. Once both sides had their chance to present their case, the judge asked for a brief recess.

Half an hour later, the judge convened them back to share his decision.


"Based on the evidence and opinions of both sides, the court recognizes Mrs. Taylor as the legal guardian of Tommy L. and requests the transfer of parental rights to her immediately."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Winona burst into tears, hugging her lawyer and thanking him fiercely. But the other side of the court was heartbroken. The grandmother wanted to gloat, but she kept her composure.

The lawyers spoke, and Winona could pick up Tommy in two days.

"We're almost ready, Mrs. Taylor," Aileen said tearily when Winona went to their house two days later.

The grandmother smiled and entered their home, seeing the number of crates and luggage in the living room – everything a kid could need and want. Her grin faltered for the first time since her courtroom win.


"Everything is for Tommy," Dave said while carrying another crate. "He's been crying all day, Mrs. Taylor. Aileen calmed him down now, and he'll be down soon. Let me start loading things in the cab."

Minutes later, she was leading the boy to the taxi. Tommy sat by the window, watching Dave and Aileen as fresh tears ran down his face and his breath fogged the glass.

But Aileen started running, catching them before the driver hit the gas. The boy rolled down the window.

"Tommy, sweetie, you forgot to take Bugs!" Aileen explained, her nose running. "He doesn't sleep well without the teddy bear."

Tommy reached out through the window and hugged her tightly, begging her not to let him go. Finally, Winona had to do something. She exited the cab and revealed the entire truth, including her involvement with burning down the café.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images


"I'm sorry for being so terrible. In my quest to win my grandson's custody, I stopped being human. I forgot all that mattered was Tommy's happiness…not mine. I'll sell my house and compensate for the damage caused to your café."

Aileen and Dave couldn't care less about their business. They took Tommy out of the cab entirely, wrapping their arms around their son.

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a cop who went to a missing old woman's house and heard Morse code from inside.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers 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 info@amomama.com.

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