Old Woman Works as Janitor to See Children, Finds Sealed Bag with Their Names in the Trash — Story of the Day

Manuela Cardiga
Mar 09, 2022
12:20 P.M.
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A lonely woman whose family had moved to Europe works as a janitor to earn money to visit them, then she finds a mysterious sealed bag with their names on it in a trash can.


Debbie Francisco had never imagined that she would be on her own at the age of 67. She and her husband Douglas had raised three children, but shortly before he died, their oldest had moved to Australia, and the other two followed her out.

Now Debbie was alone and loneliness was her worse enemy. Traveling to see her children was impossible -- the trip was incredibly expensive and Debbie's pension was very small. In order to save up for a visit to Australia, Debbie took a job as a cleaner in a big apartment building.

Debbie decided to take a job to save money for her trip. | Source:


Getting the job in the first place had been difficult because no one seemed willing to give a physically demanding job to a woman her age, but Debbie had managed to convince the building's administrator to give her a chance, and he'd been more than happy with the results.

It was a challenging job for a woman her age, and sometimes painful because of her arthritis. Nevertheless, Debbie did her best. What she earned went straight into her savings account, but the money was piling up painfully slowly.

Never give up hope. God answers prayers in unexpected ways.

Debbie's excellent work did not go unnoticed by the building's residents who would often give her tips. One day, a conversation with one of the residents would end up changing her life.


Debbie was busy cleaning the elevator when Mrs. Yarrow walked in. She smiled to see Debbie cleaning the mirrors to a high polish. "Good morning Debbie!" she said. "How are you?"

Mrs. Yarrow saw that Debbie looked very sad. | Source: Pexels


"I'm fine Mrs. Yarrow," Debbie smiled, but Mrs. Yarrow could see that her eyes were swollen and red.

Mrs. Yarrow frowned. "You don't look alright! Can you take a few minutes off and come have a cup of coffee with me?" 

Debbie nodded and followed Mrs. Yarrow up to her apartment. Soon Debbie and Mrs. Yarrow were sitting down to a hot cup of coffee. "Now, Debbie," her hostess said, "tell me what's wrong."

Debbie burst into tears. "Oh, it's good news, really!" she sobbed. "My daughter is pregnant again! She's having her baby in July, but I won't be there. I just can't afford the trip, Mrs. Yarrow! She's in Australia and the plane tickets are a fortune.


Debbie and her husband had three children. | Source: Unsplash

"Janice (that's my daughter) and her husband are doing well but they've just bought a new house because they are having twins," Debbie explained. "And they can't afford to pay for my ticket, nor can my two sons help!


"We were hoping my youngest, Andrew, would be able to help, but he's had some financial setbacks, and I've never even met my first grandchild, Fiona. She's four!"

Mrs. Yarrow looked over at the photo of her four grandchildren on the mantel and imagined being so far away from them. She patted Debbie's hand consolingly. "Oh my dear," she said tenderly. "I'm so sorry. But don't give up hope. Sometimes things have a way of working out. I'll pray for you, who knows...Anything can happen!"

Debbie's children had moved to Australia and she couldn't afford to visit. | Source: Pexels


"Mrs. Yarrow," Debbie said smiling. "Only you can cheer me up! You're right. I've always trusted in God to help me and I won't doubt Him now!"

After Debbie left, Mrs. Yarrow picked up the phone and started calling all her neighbors and explained Debbie's predicament. "Debbie's such a treasure!" she said. "She's always there when we need help or just a kind word. I think we can help her."

Carried by Mrs. Yarrow's enthusiasm, the other residents started collecting money for Debbie, and before long they had $2,500! This, Mrs. Yarrow ascertained, was enough for the plane ticket with a little leftover.

Mrs. Yarrow placed the money in a paper bag and stuck a big label on the outside that read: 'FOR JANICE, BRAD, AND ANDREW." Then she sealed the bag and placed it  in the trash can in the lobby which she knew was the first one Debbie cleaned when she arrived in the morning.


Debbie's daughter was pregnant again and she hadn't even met her oldest granddaughter. | Source: Pexels

The next day, Debbie arrived bright and early as always and the first thing she did was empty out the trash container. She lifted the lid of the can in the lobby and gasped. There was a paper bag in there, with her children's names on it!


Debbie pulled it out with trembling hands and opened it. She couldn't believe the sight that met her eyes! Inside was a neat stack of bills wrapped with a bright pink ribbon and a note that read: "Bon Voyage!"

Debbie started crying, picked up the bag, and ran to Mrs. Yarrow's apartment. She rang the doorbell and held up the packet to a smiling Mrs. Yarrow. "You did this!" Debbie sobbed. "Thank you!"

Mrs. Yarrow gave the weeping Debbie a big hug and told her, "It was all of us, Debbie, we just wanted to show you how much you mean to us!"

Debbie couldn't believe it when she found the money in the trash can. | Source: Unsplash


Two months later, Mrs. Yarrow drove Debbie to the airport and saw her off on the first leg of her long trip to Australia. Two days later, Debbie was with her beloved children and met her sweet little granddaughter.

A few weeks later, she sent Mrs. Yarrow a photo of herself holding two yawning newborns. "Thanks to you," Debbie wrote, "I was there for my daughter, and have held my grandsons in my arms. God bless you for your kindness!"

What can we learn from this story?

  • Never give up hope. God answers prayers in unexpected ways. Mrs. Yarrow was moved by Debbie's story and ended up being an instrument of God to help her friend.
  • The charity of many can help a dream come true. On her own, Mrs. Yarrrow could never have raised the money for Debbie's ticket, but when the neighbors got together, it became an easy task.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a florist who becomes curious when she notices an 89-year-old man buying red roses every day, so she follows him.

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