Howard Phillips was a successful court lawyer, and his daughter, Martha, knew they were wealthy. One day, they went to the mall and saw her classmate, James, helping his father in the parking lot. Martha said something horrible to the little boy, and Howard knew she needed to learn an important lesson, so he shocked her a few days later.
"I'm going to get a pretzel and a new doll and a burger and a Barbie and…," Howard's daughter, Martha, rattled on as he parked the car in the mall parking lot. This particular mall had a grocery store, and they needed to get some things before they could enjoy their outing. But Martha was already excited about everything he was going to buy her.
Howard was wealthy due to his profession. He was one of the greatest court lawyers in Austin, Texas, and his clients knew they were always getting the best. But he vetted his cases thoroughly and believed in justice and fairness over money.
Howard and his daughter dropped by the mall to fetch some things at the grocery before their outing.| Source: Shutterstock
His only flaw was that he and his wife might have spoiled Martha too much. Martha was their miracle baby, conceived after many miscarriages. They wanted the best for their daughter, although they had enrolled her in a great public school so she wouldn't be too arrogant. Still, she knew they had money and wanted tons of things all the time.
Howard got out of the car and put on a special bright-green vest. "What are you wearing?" Martha asked.
At the parking lot, Martha spotted her classmate, James. He was pulling grocery carts and moving them to their rightful place. It seemed like he was helping his father, Oliver, a lovely man who worked as a parking attendant at this mall. Howard met him once at a PTA meeting.
He stopped for a second to talk to him about an email the school had sent and continued walking.
"Dad? Why did you talk to that man?" Martha asked, a strange tone in her voice.
"Because that's Oliver Higgins. He's your friend James' dad, sweetie," Howard replied, pointing at James, who was pulling carts heavier than him it seemed.
One cart got away from James and hit Martha lightly. | Source: Pexels
"Ugh…," she griped, and Howard shook his head, thinking she was just excited about going to the mall with her daddy.
Suddenly, a cart came towards them and hit Martha lightly. She stopped walking, and Howard didn't notice until he was a bit ahead — almost at the mall entrance. He stopped and waited so that Martha could talk to her friend. But he never expected what his daughter said next.
"Hey Martha!" James greeted cheerfully, waving his hand. "I'm sorry about the cart. It got away from me."
"Watch what you're doing, James," she responded sourly. "I have no time to be dealing with someone poorer than me, so get away from me."
"Whatever," James said and walked away. But Howard saw how the little boy hunched his shoulders and couldn't believe the words that had come out of his daughter's mouth.
"Why did you say that to him?" Howard asked when Martha caught up with him.
Martha just shrugged her shoulders, and Howard knew she needed to learn her lesson. | Source: Pexels
"Because it's true. His dad works at the mall. He doesn't have an iPad like me. He doesn't have new shoes like me and my friends. He's poor. I don't want to be his friend," Martha answered as if it was the most normal way of thinking.
Howard closed his eyes in pain. "You can't speak to people like that, Martha. It's wrong," he continued. He wanted to leave the mall altogether, but he had also looked forward to this outing with his daughter.
Martha only shrugged her shoulders, and he grabbed her hand to walk inside the mall. However, this issue was far from over.
"Martha, come help me at work today," Howard asked his daughter. it was early Saturday morning and a week after that incident at the mall parking lot. He finally decided how to teach his daughter a lesson.
"Where are we going?" she asked. Howard knew she didn't want to go to his office because it was boring. But she was in for a huge surprise.
Howard got out of the car and told her something shocking. | Source: Pexels
"Daddy needs help. Come on," he insisted, and she followed reluctantly, getting into the back seat of his car.
They arrived at the mall, and Martha got excited. "Yay! More toys!" she cheered.
But Howard got out of the car and put on a special bright-green vest.
"What are you wearing?" Martha asked, frowning as she exited the car.
"Honey, I'm sorry to say this but I lost my job as a lawyer this week. So now, I work here just like your friend's dad," Howard stated, looking at his daughter with a slight grin.
"Yes, and you have to help me by pulling the carts into that spot. Like you saw James do the other day," he added, pointing to that general area.
"NO! You're lying! NO! We're not poor!" Martha yelled and got back in the car. She grabbed her iPad and headphones to ignore her dad, who started working.
She started helping him with the carts. | Source: Pexels
After a few minutes, Martha got bored of her iPad. She watched her father working hard and sweating under the sun. Carts were pilling up, and no one was pulling them away. She pursed her lips and didn't know what to do. Later, Howard went to the carts and started doing the job himself. But Martha had made a decision.
"I'll help with this, Daddy," she said with a tiny smile for her father.
"That's my little girl," he praised her and let her do her thing.
Martha was laughing by the end of the day, although she was tired. Suddenly, she noticed James' dad, Oliver, approaching her father, who took off his vest and gave it back.
"What happened? Did you lose this job too, Dad?" she asked, concern in her tone.
Howard knelt down, shaking his head. "No, darling. I made a deal with Oliver to fill in for one day. And now you know how hard today was. Every job is valuable. We're all interdependent, and just because someone doesn’t have as much money or new toys as you, doesn't mean that they are less important. The way you spoke to James the other day was wrong. I wanted to teach you a lesson. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
Martha and James became friends eventually. | Source: Pexels
Martha pursed her lips and finally nodded. Howard was hopeful that she had learned the lesson.
"I want you to apologize to James as soon as you can. Alright? His family is nice and hardworking. No one deserves to be spoken to like you did to him. My daughter is not going to be a spoiled princess okay? Now let's get some burgers and go home," he added, standing up and grabbing her hand. She grinned at him and hopped into the car.
The following Monday, Martha apologized to James sincerely, and they played together for the first time that day. Eventually, they became great friends.
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