Every day, a homeless man walks past a house near the dumpster where he forages for food. One strange day, he hears a boy crying inside. His initial reaction is to ignore him and walk away, but he finally chooses to check on the house.
Dexter Henson was a homeless man who most people wouldn't want in their home, so when he heard a little boy crying inside a house, he had second thoughts about approaching him. However, after seeing the boy's sobbing face peering through a window and him trying to utter the word "mom," he couldn't walk away.
He strolled tiredly to the front door of the house and rang the doorbell. A few minutes later, the toddler, who couldn't have been more than three years old, answered the door, still wailing.
Dexter looked at the boy from head to toe and instantly deduced from the food stains on his T-shirt and all over his lips that the boy hadn't changed in days.
"Hey, hey," Dexter said softly. "Where are your parents? Don't worry. I'm here to help you. Is there any elder at home?" he asked, sneaking inside with lighted steps, aware that if anyone observed a homeless man like him trying to get in, things would not go well.
But he soon realized the child was all alone...
The little boy was peeping through the window and crying for help. | Source: Shutterstock
The boy shook his head and kept crying, whispering, "Mama…." Before Dexter could ask him another question, he smelled something - not a delightful smell, but one that suggested that the boy's diaper needed to be changed.
Dexter looked about to see if he could call for help, embarrassed by the fact that he was just a homeless man and that the boy's parents would be horrified to see him there when they arrived home. But when he didn't see anyone around, he decided to help the boy on his own.
"All right, buddy," he said as he carried the boy in his arms. "We're going to change your diapers quickly, and then we'll feed you something, okay? Don't worry. You're not alone."
Dexter entered one of the rooms, which appeared to be the boy's bedroom, and discovered a packet of diapers in his closet. He took out a diaper and a few clothes and helped the toddler change. He washed his mouth, which was covered in dried porridge, and walked to the refrigerator to see if there was any baby food.
Dexter couldn't keep himself from helping the little boy. | Source: Pexels
Luckily, the fridge was stocked, so Dexter fed the boy. He ate a few slices of bread himself, though knowing it wasn't right. But then, he hadn't eaten in days, so he figured he'd seek the boy's parents for forgiveness for taking food when they returned.
After feeding the child, Dexter rocked him till he fell asleep in his arms. He sank into the living room couch with the boy in his arms, hoping that someone would come soon. But morning turned to evening and no one showed up.
It was only when he heard the boy's cry again that Dexter woke up and saw that the boy had spilled ketchup all over himself. "Oh dear!" he sighed as he stared at the toddler. "Little man, you look high maintenance to me. We need to change your clothes again. Come on!" Dexter carried the toddler to his room and took out fresh clothes from the boy's closet.
"Hey, aren't your parents coming back?" he asked after changing his clothes. "Maybe your parents left a diary or something where they write any numbers?"
The child stared at him and shook his head. "Mama…mama…" That's all he mumbled indistinctly.
Dexter changed the toddler's clothes and fed him. | Source: Unsplash
"Ugh, you know that certainty isn't going to help us, right?"
The boy didn't say anything and raced over to his toy mat, where he began playing with his toys. Dexter moaned helplessly, unsure what to do. If he called the cops, he would be subjected to unnecessary suspicion, so he decided to wait.
Dexter had no idea that several days would soon pass with no sign of the boy's parents and he'd end up growing so fond of the little boy.
One afternoon, he sang him a lullaby. He knew he was a terrible singer but the little boy loved his singing and would giggle every time he heard his voice. Shortly after, Dexter didn't realize he had dozed off with the boy in his arms – until a loud voice startled him awake.
"Who the hell are you? Leave my baby alone!"
Dexter suddenly opened his eyes to see a woman snatching the young toddler from his grasp.
"Don't move!" she warned, taking a step back and grabbing the baseball bat from the corner. Her face was marked with bruises, and her hands were covered with bandages. "I'm going to call the cops right now. How the hell did you even get in?"
The woman was horrified to find her son with Dexter. | Source: Unsplash
"Look, ma'am," Dexter said. "You're getting it wrong; I just…."
"I am getting it wrong?" she screamed, dialing a few digits on the phone. "You were here with my child alone, you're wearing my husband's clothes, and there are food packets all around the house. What on earth did you think you were doing?"
"I'm very sorry, ma'am," Dexter cried as he got down on his knees. "I only came here to help your son. I found your son alone at home while dumpster diving near your house."
"What?" The woman paused typing and looked at Dexter in surprise.
"He was alone, ma'am," Dexter explained, "and I couldn't leave him like that. I wanted to call the cops, but you know they'd doubt me because I'm poor."
"Why didn't you ask for help from someone else?"
Dexter shared his heartbreaking story with Gabrielle. | Source: Pexels
"I was just embarrassed to approach anyone, ma'am. Besides, I wouldn't lie that I liked spending time with your son. He is very adorable."
The woman looked at her son, who was giggling in her arms and looking at the homeless man. They sure had formed a bond, it was evident.
"What's your name?" she asked him.
"I'm Dexter – Dexter Henson. I apologize for trespassing on your property like this and for the mess I created. I'm sorry."
Having heard Dexter's explanation, the woman finally calmed down. "It's all right, Dexter," she said. "My bad, I didn't even introduce myself. I'm Gabrielle Larson. Thank you for taking care of Nathan while I was away. I apologize for my outburst... I was just scared. Please have a seat. Let me make you some tea."
"Oh no, it's alright. I should leave. You don't look fine…I mean, the bandages and everything…."
"It's okay, Dexter. Please have a seat, I insist. I am really ashamed of how I yelled at you."
Dexter nodded his head and gently settled on the couch. Gabrielle made him tea and offered him some cookies.
Gabrielle offered Dexter some tea and cookies. | Source: Pexels
"I'm actually grateful for what you did, Dexter," she said as she settled opposite Dexter on the sofa, with Nathan in her arms. "My husband is away on a business trip. I had gone to the market a few days before and didn't want to wake Nathan, as he was sleeping, so I left his porridge on the table, thinking I would feed him after returning from the shop. But I met with an accident and was unable to move. In fact, I only gained consciousness this morning. And I came home running. The doctors said I need some time to rest, but I was worried about Nathan."
"Are you feeling better now?"
"Not so well, but I can manage."
"Ah, that's still better."
"How about you? I mean, how did you end up like this? I don't want to offend you in any sense, but I'm just curious. Is there anything I can do to help you?"
Gabrielle decided to do something to help Dexter. | Source: Pexels
"That's very kind of you, Gabrielle. I used to be a businessman just like your husband. But my business partners duped me and kicked me out of my company. I lost my home and everything I had, and the streets were the only option to get by."
"That's awful. Actually, you know what? I can talk to Harry and see if he can find you a job in his company, and please, don't turn down the offer. I will forever be grateful for what you did for Nathan."
Dexter almost cried at Gabrielle's kindness."Thank you so much! That means a ton to me!"
"Absolutely no problem, Dexter."
Gabrielle allowed Dexter to stay in their guest room for a while, and when Harry returned home, she told him what had transpired. Harry was beyond grateful to Dexter for his help, and in turn, he helped him rent a house in their neighborhood at his expense.
Later, he recruited him as a junior manager in his company. But Dexter was very talented and hardworking and quickly rose to the position of general manager.
He was already a good friend of the Larsons at the time, and when Harry and Giselle asked him to be Nathan's godfather, he happily nodded yes.
What can we learn from this story?
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