Rich Man Kicks Out Homeless Girl Begging for Money, Later Sees Her at Wife’s Grave — Story of the Day
A wealthy man scornfully refuses to give a poor girl money for flowers. But he sees her later at his deceased wife's grave weeping and realizes who she is.
David Salvi was nervous and excited. He was back in Boston after an absence of 15 years, and he was about to do something he'd sworn he'd never do: reach out to his wife.
The florist he walked towards was rightly known as one of the city's best, and he knew he'd find what he needed -- red tulips. He had just stepped inside the florist's door when he was accosted by a beggar.
The girl looked desolate and ragged. She was thin, with skinny legs and under her too-short skirts, her bruised knees showed. "Please, sir..." she said. "Could you spare some change?"
David asked the girl what she wanted the money for. | Source: Shutterstock.com
David frowned and asked her belligerently: "What's the money for? Food? Or are you just going to blow it on drink or drugs?"
Lies are like weeds, they grow and spread destruction.
The girl flushed and said with dignity: "None of those, sir. I want to buy some flowers..."
"Flowers?" David cried, outraged. "What does a beggar want with flowers? I tell you what! You go and work instead of asking decent people for their money to buy FLOWERS!"
The girl turned her face away but not before David saw that she was crying. He felt a little ashamed of himself. There was one person who would never approve of his attitude — Claire. And David wanted Claire's approval badly.
He put his hand in his pocket to give the girl a dollar, but she had gone. He got himself a bouquet of the most beautiful red tulips, Claire's favorites. Claire, the love of his life, his wife whom he hadn't seen for fifteen years...
David fell in love with Claire at first sight. | Source: Unsplash
David had loved Claire from the moment he saw her dancing at a concert, her hands up in the air, her long hair swirling around her like a silken cape. He'd walked up to her and they had looked into each other's eyes and they knew.
He and Claire had married three weeks later, but he only broke the news to his parents when he went back for Thanksgiving -- without Claire. He blurted it out at dinner: "Mom, Dad, I'm married..."
His father's jaw dropped and his mother spilled the wine on her white linen and lace heirloom tablecloth. "WHAT?" she gasped. "Married? TO WHOM?"
David smiled nervously. "Her name is Claire Farrow -- I mean was -- she's Claire Salvi now. She's beautiful and funny and smart. She's a law student..."
"Who is her family?" asked David's mother. "Where do they come from?"
David and Claire married three weeks after they met. | Source: Unsplash
"Well, she's an orphan, Mom," David explained. "She was raised by nuns in an orphanage..."
"AN ORPHAN?" asked his Dad frowning. "That doesn't seem to be the sort of girl we expected you to marry, David!"
"Dad, Mom, I love her!" David cried. "I'm not marrying her family whoever they might be!"
David's parents were furious. They demanded that he drive right back to Boston and fetch 'that girl' so they could take a look at her. "I don't want you mistreating her, Mom!" David cried. "She's my wife!"
"I like to think I know how to behave, David!" Mrs. Salvi said, but the way she pressed her lips together told him Claire was in for an ordeal.
David broke the news to his parents over Thanksgiving dinner. | Source: Unsplash
That night, David phoned Claire and told her that his parents wanted to meet her. "Oh," Claire said softly. "I can tell from your voice that things didn't go so well..."
"You know what they are like," David said, embarrassed. "But I know when they meet you, they will love you."
There was a long silence, then Claire said in a shy voice, "I hope they will love their grandchild."
"I'm sure..." David started to say, then it hit him. "Babe, you're pregnant?"
"I'm sorry David," Claire said. "I was so careful, and I know it's not the right time..."
Claire broke the news that she was pregnant over the phone. | Source: Unsplash
But David had tears running down his face. "Oh babe, I'm so happy...I love you, Claire!"
The next morning, David got into his car early and started the three-hour drive to Boston to fetch Claire. He wanted to tell his parents about the baby, but he decided to wait until Claire was there.
Unfortunately, he never made it to Boston. An eighteen-wheeler spun out of control and spun David's car into a ravine. It would be two long years before he woke up.
He saw his mother sitting by his bed looking very thin and worried. "Mom?" he croaked. "Mom, what happened?"
His mother explained that he'd been in a terrible accident and that they had nearly despaired of his life. "Claire!" David gasped, trying to sit up. "What about Claire?"
Davis'd car fell into a ravine. | Source: Unsplash
Mrs. Salvi looked very sad. "I'm sorry, David," she said. "When we told her you were in a coma and might not wake up, she just left..."
"But..." David's head was spinning. "But what about the baby?"
"Oh, my dear," said David's mom. "There was no baby! It was just a way to trap you..."
After his mother left, David cried bitterly for all the dreams he now knew would never come true. Claire was a liar, she never loved him, there was no baby. It took a long time for David to come to terms with it all, and he never fell in love again.
Thirteen years later, it was David who stood by a hospital bed holding Mrs. Salvi's frail hand in his. "David," she whispered. "I have to tell you something..."
David was in a coma for two years. | Source: Unsplash
"Rest, Mom," David said gently. "You can tell me later..."
"There's not going to be a later," David's mother said. "I know that and so do you. I lied. I lied to you and I lied to HER."
David frowned and asked, "What are you talking about, Mom?"
"I told Claire you were dead," Mrs. Salvi confessed. "I told you she had gone... I didn't know about the baby..."
David was stunned. "You lied? How could you..." David was about to shout, then he looked down at his dying mother's face. "Mom, I forgive you. I'll find Claire and the baby. It will be OK:"
David's mother told him the truth on her deathbed. | Source: Unsplash
After Mrs. Salvi's funeral, David helped his father through the maze of legalities, then he caught a plane to Boston. He was going to look for Claire and his child and he knew where to start.
"May I speak to Sister Francis?" David asked at the Lady of Mercy Orphanage. He was steered to a sweet-faced woman in a habit who was playing with some children.
"Sister Francis?" David asked. "I'm looking for Claire Farrow. I'm her husband..."
Sister Francis stood up and stared at him. "You're David? But she thought you were dead!" she exclaimed. "Claire...Claire is dead. She passed away five years ago. She's buried at Evergreen Cemetery. I'll tell you the plot number if you want to pay your respects."
"Dead?" David whispered. "What about the baby?"
Sister Francis told David that Claire was dead. | Source: Pexels
"Claire's little girl was put into foster care," Sister Francis said bitterly. "We tried to keep her but they placed her with a family. We lost track of her."
"A girl," David whispered and looked down at the flowers clutched in his hand. "At least I have her favorite flowers."
David left the orphanage in a daze of grief and caught a taxi to Evergreen Cemetery. He started looking for Claire's grave and found it nearly an hour later. As he approached he saw that there was someone there.
It was the girl from the flower shop! She was kneeling by the grave, pulling up weeds and talking softly. "I'm sorry, Mommy," she said. "I couldn't get tulips today, but I have some daisies..."
The girl held up a limp little handful of wild daisies in her hand and placed it reverently on the gravestone. "Oh, Mommy! I miss you so much..."
Hope and David placed the tulips on Claire's grave. | Source: Unsplash
"You..." David said, and the girl jumped up. "You are Claire's daughter?"
"Yes," she said. "You knew my mother?"
David stared at the wide eyes so like Claire's and felt tears start to run down his cheeks. "I knew her, I'm your father..."
His daughter's name was Hope, and she had been on her own for two years after running away from a complicated situation in a foster home. David told Hope the whole story and begged her for forgiveness.
"I'm here now," he said. "You'll never be alone again." Together David and Hope placed the lovely tulips on Claire's grave and then he took her home to meet her grandfather.
Hope was never alone again. | Source: Unsplash
What can we learn from this story?
- Lies are like weeds, they grow and spread destruction. Mrs. Salvi's lies led to her only grandchild growing up alone and homeless.
- What matters is a person's character, not who their family is or where they come from. Mr. and Mrs. Salvi judged Claire without meeting her and made a terrible mistake.
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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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