When Elizabeth turned 16, her grandmother gifted her an expensive necklace that she thought would be in their lineage for generations to come. However, a day after Elizabeth's birthday, she disappeared.
Elizabeth lived sixteen years of her life like a princess. She came from an extremely wealthy family, owning a large IT company in the United States.
Since her parents were very hands-on, they would often be out on business trips around the world, so Elizabeth grew up with her grandmother, Martha, who was both traditional and extremely strict.
The young lady was not allowed to interact with ordinary folk. Instead, she was only to speak with the children of Manhattan's elite. She could not go to the cinemas and arcades like any normal teenager, and instead, was only allowed to visit her rich friends' mansions and vacation homes.
Elizabeth received extravagant gifts for her 16th birthday. | Photo: Shutterstock
One day, her grandmother picked her up from her exclusive Upper East Side private school. They were to walk together towards the movie premiere that they were invited to.
On the way there, Elizabeth bumped into a lady walking an adorable poodle. She quickly bent down to pet the dog, and her grandmother was horrified.
"Elizabeth James! Get away from the dog!" she exclaimed.
Elizabeth rolled her eyes and shot the woman an apologetic look. The woman smiled and quickly walked away.
"Grandma, what's wrong? it's just a dog," she said as she stood back up.
"You're not supposed to be interacting with people on the street, even if it's just to pet their dog. You don't know where they came from, they could be germ carriers," Martha said, spraying hand sanitizer on Elizabeth's palms.
"Grandma, you're overreacting. They're human too, you know. And the dog looked clean, smelled good too," she shrugged, not wanting to argue with her grandmother.
"I insist. You should NOT be talking to people on the street. This is why I don't like walking in Manhattan anymore. This place used to be filled with grandeur, now, homeless people line the streets. Yuck," her grandmother said, pinching her nose as they passed by a homeless man pushing a grocery cart.
Elizabeth and Martha bumped into an adorable poodle while walking in Manhattan. | Photo: Pexels
When they got to the theater, Elizabeth forgot about what her grandmother had said for a while. However, when they got home, her grandmother's selfishness dawned upon her again.
"Elizabeth, you're turning 16 so it's only right we throw you a party at home. I've already informed the parents of some of your classmates, they'll be coming, so you have to look your best," Martha said.
"What? Who did you invite from my classmates? Did you invite Isabelle and Serena?" Elizabeth excitedly asked.
"Err, of course not. Stop hanging out with Isabelle, she's the daughter of your teacher. That's the only reason why she gets to study in your school," Martha started.
"And Serena, oh boy, where do I begin? Her father has to work three jobs to afford tuition over there. She's a social climber, so you need to stop being friends with her," Martha added, judging Elizabeth's friends at school.
"That's not very nice, grandma. Isabelle is the kindest person I know, and Serena is extremely intelligent. Her father only wants her to receive the best education so she could get to an Ivy League school like she deserves," Elizabeth replied.
"Still, they're no match for you. You should be hanging out with Crista. Her dad owns the largest law firm in Manhattan. I also invited Katherine. Her parents own the biggest mall chain on the east coast." Hearing her grandmother, Elizabeth was getting teary-eyed. She didn't think her family could be so materialistic.
"Of course, Adam is coming, too... I just wish you two would get together already!" her grandmother gushed. "The heir and heiress of two multi-million dollar companies. It's a match made in heaven!" Martha squealed.
Martha thought New York had lost its grandeur due to homeless people on the streets. | Photo: Pexels
At this point, Elizabeth had heard enough. "Have you ever considered what I wanted, grandma? I mean, it's my birthday, right? Shouldn't it be MY guests and not yours?"
"Nonsense, Elizabeth James. These are YOUR guests. I simply invited the right ones," Martha corrected her.
"Well, I'm not coming. You can enjoy the party yourself," Elizabeth said, storming off to go to her room.
The next day, Martha had Elizabeth's room unlocked. The young woman was crying on what was supposed to be a happy day, as she just turned 16.
"Elizabeth, your father is on the line. He says if you don't get out of here in 10 minutes, you're not going to like what he's going to say," Martha threatened.
Elizabeth knew that if she didn't follow, her father would ship her off to boarding school, something she didn't want to happen. In tears, she sat in front of her vanity table as a hair and makeup artist dolled her up for her party.
As she went down the stairs, all eyes were on her. She was wearing a gorgeous blue dress, and her brunette hair fell in loose curls over her shoulders.
Elizabeth wore a blue gown to her 16th birthday party. | Photo: Pexels
Her grandmother instructed her to stop at the edge of the stairs, and there, her guests approached her one by one with their gifts. She received boxes from the world's biggest brands: Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Rolex, and Hermes.
Not wanting to be overshadowed, Martha waited for everyone to finish before giving her own gift. It was a limited edition diamond necklace worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Elizabeth was stunned, knowing well that she wouldn't dare wear a necklace that expensive ever in her life. Nonetheless, she thanked her grandma before wishing the guests well and inviting them to dinner.
That night, Elizabeth played along by eating dinner with her guests and entertaining them before it was time to leave. Little did they know, that was the last they'd hear from her for a while.
Elizabeth played along by joining her guests for dinner. | Photo: Pexels
The next day, Elizabeth was nowhere to be found. When her grandmother searched her room, the gifts she received from the night before had vanished, too. Thinking she had been abducted, Martha hired a private team of investigators to help the NYPD look for her.
After two days, Martha was preparing for the worst. She had called Elizabeth's parents, asking them to fly in. However, something strange happened.
Dozens of letters flooded their mailbox that morning, and there were homeless people in their yard. She was about to shriek for security when she realized Elizabeth was among them.
"Elizabeth James, where have you been?" she screamed. Before she could approach Elizabeth, Martha was swarmed with strangers who were thanking her for saving lives.
"Thank you for your generosity, Madam Martha. You will forever be remembered," a man told her.
"You are a true blessing from God, Martha. May he bless you and your family some more," a woman carrying a child said.
People started to surround Martha in her own yard. | Photo: Pexels
"What? What are they talking about, Elizabeth?" she asked her granddaughter, who was walking towards her at this point.
"Well, grandma, you see, I've always wanted to tell you that while you dream of me becoming an heiress, my own dream is to help those who have less than us. When I received all those gifts during my birthday, I couldn't help but think how many people could've been fed using the money those gifts were worth," Elizabeth started.
"So, I went to several stores that purchase jewelry and bags, and I sold them all," she declared. Martha's face looked horrified.
"The next day, I personally went to several orphanages and shelters to provide money for food, medicine, and much-needed supplies. Thanks to you, sick people got their medicine, hungry children were fed, and homeless people were given proper shelter," Elizabeth added.
"You sold the necklace I gave you? Oh dear lord, I think I might faint. Do you know how much that cost me?" Martha said, turning pale.
"I do now, grandma. But even then, how much money do we have in the bank? It's a lot more than what that necklace costs. Meanwhile, the amount I gathered from selling my gifts? I was able to help THOUSANDS of people, grandma. Can you imagine that?" Elizabeth said with a smile on her face.
Elizabeth tried making Martha realize some things about herself. | Photo: Pexels
"It's all because of you, grandma. Because of you, you've saved many lives. You've fed hungry children, helped battered mothers, and given educational opportunities to ex-inmates. That's because of you, grandma!" Elizabeth said, making her grandma realize what had happened.
"Oh, Elizabeth. You have the purest heart. I could have never imagined being able to do something like this in my life and here, you were able to do it in two days. I am so sorry for being so cruel to other people. Thank you for making me realize so many things," Martha said, pulling in her granddaughter for a warm embrace.
Elizabeth was in tears. She never thought her grandmother would ever change her mind about other people. However, that was only the beginning for them.
Since then, Martha and Elizabeth joined forces in actively doing charity work. Martha also stopped controlling Elizabeth's life, and she was given the freedom to do what she pleased.
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