A woman gets curious about a little girl begging strangers to buy her last pair of boots near the church and decides to follow her – what she discovers along the way changes her life forever.
When Ryan Jenkins lost his wife Martha to leukemia, he knew things weren't going to be easy for him. Within three months of Martha's diagnosis, he was already struggling to pay the bills and care for their daughter Sally, and things only got worse when Martha went to her heavenly home.
Ryan, a single father now and a small construction worker in Pennsylvania, worked day and night to keep his little Sally happy and meet all of her demands.
Sally decided to sell her boots at the church | Photo: Shutterstock
When he felt lonely and desolate, believing that life was only getting worse by the minute, he went to a nearby church, pleading with God to make things right for them and keep him and his daughter safe. And he'd taught Sally the same thing.
"Honey," he'd said. "Just because something bad happens in life doesn't mean God isn't watching over us. It's because he's putting us through our paces and making us stronger for the rest of our lives."
Sally, who was just 6, didn't really understand what it all meant. Nevertheless, she nodded and gave a warm smile to Ryan.
Unfortunately, one day when Ryan was working at a construction site, he got his leg severely injured. The doctors said he'd have to be confined to bed rest for a month after surgery and take good care of himself to recover quickly.
Ryan was already on a tight budget, trying hard to make ends meet, so paying for the surgery seemed out of the question. "Doctor, isn't there another way? I don't think surgery would be feasible for me right now," he asked helplessly.
"Well, Mr. Jenkins," the doctor replied. "I can let you go with a week of complete bed rest, but surgery is required. You can only walk with crutches until that time."
"That would do, doctor," Ryan replied before signing the discharge form the next morning.
Ryan injured his leg while working | Photo: Pexels
When little Sally saw her dad struggling to walk as he arrived home, she was worried about it and approached him. "Daddy?" she asked curiously. "Why are you walking like that? Mrs. Hall said doctors would keep you in the hospital for treatment. Is it done?"
Ryan smiled at Sally. "There's no need for that, Sally. Surgery is expensive, and daddy can't pay for it. But don't worry, daddy is strong, so he will get well soon."
Sally wasn't convinced. "Are you sure, daddy?" she asked queerly.
"Yes, honey," Ryan replied. "By the way, thanks for being a good girl to Mrs. Hall when I was in the hospital yesterday. She said that you are a very good girl."
Sally smiled in response to Ryan's compliment and said, "Mrs. Hall made me pancakes, daddy. She cooks just like mommy. She made breakfast for you too," and then walked away to her room with her doll.
Ryan felt his heart throbbing in pain when Sally spoke about Martha. His loving Martha was gone, and it seemed like her memories were already dissipating from his mind.
Sally was thinking about how she could help Ryan | Photo: Pexels
Meanwhile, back in her room, Sally was thinking of how she could help her dad. He'd told her they didn't have money, but she was determined to help him. As a result, she began selling her toys, clothes, and shoes for money to other students at her school.
One weekend, Sally left home after breakfast, telling Ryan she was going to her friend's house to play, but she ran off to a nearby church. She brought her last pair of boots with her – the special one that was Martha's final gift.
She had intended to never sell it because it was brand new, and she had only worn it once, but she went against her wishes to help her daddy – to raise money for his surgery.
Since it was a Sunday and many people visited the church on weekends, Sally thought she'd easily find a buyer for her brand new shoes. But much to her dismay, nobody paid attention to her.
All the people were hurrying inside the church, partly for the morning mass and partly to save themselves from the cold. Those who had just arrived pushed her away, claiming they didn't want to buy anything.
Despite that, Sally kept requesting the passers-by for help. "Please help me. I need money," she begged, but it was all for naught.
When almost an hour passed like that, Sally started to lose hope that anybody would buy her shoes. She had also started feeling tired, so she decided to head home. Then a woman approached her.
Sally sold her last pair of boots | Photo: Pixabay
"Hi there, young lady! I'm Jennifer. I noticed you are selling these boots. How much do they cost?"
"Hello! I'm Sally. I'm selling them for $30."
"These shoes are beautiful! I'll buy them from you."
"Really? Thank you!" Sally gave the woman a big hearty smile as she was paid and hurried home.
Meanwhile, Jennifer was curious why the little girl was selling shoes outside the church. She was dressed nicely, and she didn't appear to be homeless or in dire need of money.
Jennifer wasn't a frequent attendee at the church, but she'd been visiting it since she lost her daughter and husband in a fatal car accident. That day when she saw Sally selling shoes, she got curious about her, so she decided to skip the mass and follow the girl.
Jennifer bought the boots from Sally | Photo: Unsplash
A few minutes later, Jennifer found herself at an old house in one of the most lonely blocks in the neighborhood. After seeing the door close behind Sally, she approached the house and knocked on the door. But there was no answer.
Thinking Sally was alone at home, probably that's why she wasn't answering, she decided to leave. But just then, the door opened, and Ryan came outside. "Hi, how may I help you?"
"Oh dear," Sally gasped, seeing Ryan in crutches. He also seemed very tired and sick.
"Hi, I'm Jennifer. I just met Sally at the church, and…."
"At the church?" Ryan asked, confused.
"Yes, I just bought a pair of boots from her," Jennifer replied, showing him the shoes. "I didn't really mean to buy them, but I saw her asking strangers for money, so I just thought of helping her.".
"I wonder why Sally sold them! They're her favorites! Please come in," Ryan replied, showing her the way inside.
Ryan's house wasn't clean | Photo: Unsplash
Stepping inside, Jennifer could see the house wasn't particularly clean. There were dirty dishes on the table, and clothes were strewn across the living room. "Please don't mind the mess," Ryan said, embarrassed. "Being a single father isn't really easy."
"Oh no, it's okay."
Just then, Sally came to the living room. She stopped in her tracks when she saw Jennifer. "Oh! It's you!"
"Hi, Sally." Jennifer smiled at her.
"Jennifer just told me you met her at the church, Sally! You sold your favorite boots?! What's going on? You said you were going to your friend's house."
"Well, daddy…" Sally lowered her head. "I didn't want to lie, but I wanted to get a lot of money for your surgery. So I started selling my books, toys, and shoes. I was selling the boots mommy had bought me when I met Jennifer."
Sally told Ryan the truth about why she was selling her boots | Photo: Pexels
"What?" Ryan was taken aback. But instead of scolding Sally, he patiently explained that she shouldn't have done that.
Jennifer, moved by the father and daughter's plight, decided to assist them, and that night, while she was home, she set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Ryan's surgery.
Three days later, she visited their home with a $50,000 check, and Ryan couldn't stop thanking her. He finally had his surgery and was back on his feet. Jennifer came to see him frequently after the surgery, and as they spent time together, they fell in love.
When they decided to get married, they spoke to Sally about it, and she was more than happy to accept Jennifer as a mother.
Last year, Jennifer and Ryan welcomed a daughter even though doctors previously said Jennifer couldn't have children. Jennifer and Ryan believe God's will made it possible for them to conceive.
What can we learn from this story?
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