Inspirational Stories

December 13, 2021

Elderly Woman Offers Homeless Man Shelter and a Job While Her Children Ignore Her – Story of the Day

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Mary always encountered a homeless man near her favorite bakery and bought him something to eat. One day, she asked him for help carrying a huge package, knowing that her own kids would never do it. The man agreed and even repaired her kitchen sink. Afterward, she made him a great offer.

“Thank you so much, ma’am,” the homeless man in front of Mary’s favorite bakery said when she handed him a nice croissant and a steaming cup of hot chocolate. The 78-year-old woman looked down at the man sitting on a bench and smiled kindly. She saw him almost every day, and people were usually kind enough to buy him breakfast. Today, she felt inclined to do so as well.

Their great town of Breckenridge, Colorado, was already covered in a thick blanket of snow, and Christmas was right around the corner. This time of the year always reminded her of hot chocolate, family, and the spirit of giving for some reason.

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Mary bought some things for the homeless man near her favorite bakery. | Source: Shutterstock

However, Mary Olson had not seen her own family in several years. After her husband’s passing, she had spent most Christmases alone at home. Her two children, Matt and Katherine, were too busy and always traveled down to warmer climates during this season. Mary invited them to the house, but they often had excuses. 

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It was sad, but it happened to many people in their old age. She just wished her kids remembered how great Christmas could be in their town. Luckily, Mary didn’t need money from them. She came from old money and lived all her life comfortably. All she needed now was some company.

Suddenly, a sprinkling of snow started falling from the sky. She noticed how the beautiful flakes fell on the man’s shoulders, and her brow furrowed. “It might get even colder soon. Do you have somewhere to go?” the older woman asked.

The man looked at her and smiled sadly. “I don’t, ma’am. But don’t worry. I’ll take cover soon enough,” he responded and sipped from the hot chocolate.

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Mary was not satisfied with that answer. “What’s your name, young man?”

“I’m Karl, ma’am.”

Mary asked Karl for a favor. | Source: Pexels

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“Nice to meet you, Karl. My name is Mary Olson. How old are you?”

“Nice to meet you too, Mrs. Olson. I’m 27. Why do you ask?”

“I was actually wondering if you could do me a favor since you’re young and look pretty strong,” Mary began, finding a pretext to invite him to her house. “I ordered a new electric oven for my kitchen. But the delivery men left it on my porch. It’s way too heavy for me. Do you think you can come over and help me out?”

“Well, of course, I can help you.”

“I can pay for your time,” Mary said, raising her eyebrows.

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“No, no! You already bought me breakfast. Lead the way, Mrs. Olson,” Karl said, standing up from the bench and extending his hand forward.

“We don’t have to walk far. My house is pretty nearby, which is good because I don’t like driving in the snow. I also don’t see as well as I used to, but that’s what happens when you age,” Mary babbled on as they walked. She somehow made Karl laugh a few times and suspected that it might be the first sign of joy the young man had had in a while.

Her kitchen suddenly exploded with water. | Source: Pexels

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By the time they reached her house, Karl had finished his croissant and hot chocolate. He immediately saw the big package on Mary's porch and hauled it up while Mary opened her front door. She guided him inside and told him where to place it. “Thank you so much, young man. How about you stay and I can make you an even better breakfast? My pancakes are legendary,” the older woman suggested cheekily.

Karl smiled at her and agreed. He took his hat and jacket off, enjoying the warmth of her house. But before Mary could start making her pancake batter, her kitchen sink seemed to explode. Water splashed everywhere, and she rushed to find a towel.

“Oh no! Not again!” she exclaimed, trying to stop the deluge. Karl went into action, asking where the main valve was, and Mary explained. He turned it off, and they could finally relax.

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“Are you alright, Mrs. Olson?” he wondered, helping her to dry the counters.

“Yes, Karl. But that happens all the time these days. I’ve hired the guys from PlumbPerfect three times these past two months, and nothing. They definitely won’t come now that it’s snowing more,” Mary said, looking out the window and noticing more flakes falling from the sky.

Karl told her about his company while searching for the right tools. | Source: Pexels

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“Don’t worry about it. I can do it,” Karl said and asked where he could find her toolbox.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Mary wondered, concerned.

“Yes. I had a carpentry business, but I’m also a licensed plumber. I can do this, no problem,” Karl explained, bringing over Mary’s toolbox and looking around.

“Oh, but those are two fields with a lot of business around this town. What happened?” Mary questioned while he worked.

“You’re right. I had a small business with only a few employees. I started when I was 21. It was great for a few years, but then, PlumbPerfect opened up. They had better publicity, more employees, benefits, everything. My company suffered. Eventually, my guys left to work there too. I couldn’t keep up with the few clients I had left, and I couldn’t pay my debts either,” he added.

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“That’s a shame. What happened after?”

Mary told him his mother would still be proud of him. | Source: Pexels

“I declared bankruptcy, then I lost everything. I lived with my girlfriend back then, and she threw me out as soon as things got hard. It was her name on the lease. I didn’t have anything for a deposit, so I ended up on the streets. You can’t get any decent job without a real address, so that's why I've been homeless for two years now,” he revealed.

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“What about your family?”

“I don’t have any left. My mom died after I started the business. She was so proud of me for opening my own company. I don’t know what she would think of me now.”

“She would still be proud. You have gone through a lot and are still standing. You’re still a kind man. I’m afraid I come from privilege, and my kids never had to work much for anything. But I know they wouldn’t be able to handle what life put in your path,” Mary comforted, watching him use a wrench and other whatnots to fix her kitchen.

Half an hour later, Karl asked her to turn on the valve again, and her sink was back to normal. That’s when Mary had an idea. “Karl, I need a few more things fixed around the house. Some of my stairs creak. Some doors need fixing. I think my bathrooms would benefit from some maintenance too, and I could use help with my garden,” Mary began with a crafty smile.

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Karl moved in and helped fix her house while searching for a job too. | Source: Pexels

“No problem, Mrs. Olson, although it sounds like some things might need different kinds of tools or maybe materials,” Karl said, starting to plan how he was going to fix her house.

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“That’s fine. I can pay for all that. I can also pay you. But I would also suggest that you move in with me. You’ll get a room and bathroom, and I offer food as well. What do you say?” Mary asked, excited.

“Wow. I don’t know what to say. But if you’re offering all of that, I can’t take your money,” Karl countered, smiling back at the older woman.

“Deal! And while you work, you can use my address to find another job or whatever you need to plan. What I need around the house is not urgent, so you can take your time,” Mary continued. “And honestly, it would be nice to have some company.”

Karl grinned fully at the older woman and accepted immediately. He had nothing to lose. He started working on everything she had pointed out, and now that he had an address, he applied to PlumbPerfect.

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That was one of the best Christmases Mary could remember since her husband’s passing. Karl became like a grandson to her, and he got the job at the plumbing company after New Year’s.

Mary was there with Karl when his first daughter was born. | Source: Pexels

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A few months later, Karl finally got a place of his own, but he still came over on the weekends to fix things around Mary’s house and eat her delicious food.

Around that time, Mary had a health scare that almost put her in the hospital. Karl was there, but her children called only a few times. That’s when she decided to change her will. She gave Karl her big house and most of her assets, only giving some of her funds to her kids, so they wouldn’t bother the young man.  

Mary walked with him down the aisle when Karl got married. Luckily, she was also there for the birth of his first daughter, who he named after her.

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“That’s such a sweet gesture, darling. You didn’t have to do that,” Mary said to both Karl and his wife, Julie, at the hospital.

“You saved me, Mary. You’re a vital part of my family,” he said and passed the baby to the older woman carefully.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Don’t forget about your parents. Mary’s kids ignored her for many years, but she found a new “grandson” who appreciated her.
  • One nice offer can save someone’s life. There’s no telling where Karl would be if Mary had not made him that big offer. But she changed his living situation for the better.  

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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 saw an older lady out in the rain and invited her inside.

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 info@amomama.com. 

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