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Grieving Old Man Waters 17 Trees Every Day until Mall Owner Decides to Build a Parking Lot There – Story of the Day

Busayo Ogunjimi
Apr 30, 2022
10:30 P.M.
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An aged man who spent a better part of his life planting 17 trees returns to the spot one day to find that it had been marked to be transformed into yet another parking lot for a shopping center. He tried to stop the plans but was brushed aside, so he gave up until a good samaritan decided to pitch in.

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The citizens of a small town in North Carolina woke up one day to find that Lot 34, the usually vacant lot that had seen no use for decades, had been blessed with 17 trees that were all planted in neat and even rows. 

At first, the sudden change baffled many people, but then they also quickly noticed that Old man Pedro was the one caring for the trees. Day after day, everyone would see the man, dressed in worn overalls, and headed towards the parking lot.

Pedro planted and watered trees in a vacant lot in his town | Source: Shutterstock

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On his way, Pedro would take a detour to Jon's flower shop close to the lot, and there he would pick up one bucket of water and a can which he used to water one tree per day. Thus every new day saw a different tree get water, and before long, they started to blossom.

Pedro returned to the parking lot to tend to the trees as the years passed. Those who had not been a part of the journey at the beginning were happy to see the stagnant parking lot filled with the healthy breeze only trees knew how to give off. 

Some younger kids would even hang back on their way to school to watch him work his magic with the trees that seemed to respond to him by growing strong and true. 

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One day, Pedro, who now took great pride in the fact that he tended the trees, left his home to make his daily round. First, as usual, he stopped by Jon's flower shop to pick up a bucket of water; then, he went on to wet the tree he had decided to care for that day. 

He hummed as he walked, feeling excited to be among his trees; however, he was in for a shock because as soon as he arrived there, he caught sight of a small hastily put-together sign.

Every new day saw a different tree get watered by Pedro, and before long, they started to blossom | Source: Pexels

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The note read, "In a few days, construction of a parking lot for a new shopping center will begin here."  

The news troubled Old Pedro very much, and he found himself giving a deep sigh filled with his unhappiness before he began watering the tree he had chosen. 

"This just isn't right," he thought to himself, his hand gripping the bucket tightly. 

His time with the trees usually ended well, but that day, Old Pedro was much too concerned that all 17 trees would be cut down to make the parking lot accessible, which meant that all those years of devotion were about to go waste. 

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"I won't let that happen," Pedro thought to himself. "There has to be something I can do to stop this heinous crime before it is committed." 

That decided, Pedro finished watering his tree, then gathered his supply and strode towards the shopping center that supposedly needed yet another parking lot!

Pedro had gotten so deep in his thoughts that he had forgotten to abandon the bucket, so he took it to the shopping center, where many gave him weird looks because he stood out like a sore thumb.

Pedro finished watering his tree, then gathered his supply and strode towards the shopping center that supposedly needed yet another parking lot | Source: Pexels

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After some time, Pedro convinced one guard to take him to their boss, and after a brief show of hesitation, the guard, Jo Bedham by name, took him to the manager's office. 

He knocked then entered while doing his best not to gawk at how opulent the room was; It made him squirm within, and it was all he could do not to throw a glance behind him to make sure he was not leaving any dust on the clean pricey looking rug. 

When he finally had his seat, Pedro revealed his purpose of visiting without wasting time. He said:

"I don't think putting a parking lot on the site of such an old and meaningful spot would suit everyone else in the town." 

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"I'm sorry, what?" The manager, Dennis Bolton, said. "Are you saying that you would rather that prime estate go to waste just because you have a sentimental attachment to some trees nobody even asked you to plant in the first place!" 

"It's not just me who likes those trees, Mr. Bolton, there are others who go there for different reasons, and we can't assume they all don't matter." 

"Well, they don't matter, and neither does what you want — the parking lot will help generate a lot of profit for the shopping center, and regardless of what you may think, the demolition will begin in earnest." 

Pedro was taken to see the manager of the mall | Source: Pexels

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After their talk, Pedro was ushered out of the shopping center with his empty bucket and was rebuked by the guards — the meaning was clear; they didn't want him around anymore, and even though it hurt even to consider it, he knew there was no way he would in such a fight. 

Pedro found it hard to leave his bed the following morning to go on his daily watering routine because he knew that his precious trees would soon be chopped off. 

"I'll miss you all so much," he groaned into his pillow sadly that morning, then flopped on his back and promptly fell asleep. It was his first break since he began all those years, and he wished that things would return to normal. 

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After two mornings passed and Jon did not see Old Pedro go water his plants, he decided that something must be up, so he made a mental note to visit the man to find out what was going on. 

He first checked the spot the man used to be very active in — with his trees. Unfortunately, Jon could not find him roaming among the growing trees, making him more worried. 

"Something must definitely be — "Jon started to say when he caught sight of the same construction sign Pedro had seen. It made him sigh in bafflement, and then he headed back to his shop.

Jon the flower vendor started to wonder why he hadn't seen Pedro go water his plants | Source: Pexels

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The following morning, Jon hoped that Pedro would show up, but when the man remained absent, the most unimaginable happened. 

People from all over the town began to move down to Jon's shop because the flower vendor had called them all the night before explaining the ordeal Pedro and his trees were facing. 

Given how small their town was, it didn't take long for more people to hear about it, and just like that, the story had quickly spread around the city so that several hundred people were gathered near Jon's shop by noon.

United by Jon, they all moved to the mall, and upon arrival, they met the manager waiting for them near the entrance. 

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"You all need to get something to do with your noses other than sticking it in other people's businesses; you should all know by now this won't change anything!" The manager yelled, causing other people to raise their voices in a challenge.

However, before it all descended into chaos, Jon raised his hands and quietened the crowd. Then he spoke:

"We cannot leave, and we will not leave; that man you're trying to bully was once our fire chief, and 40 years ago, before your so-called mall came along, he led a team of 18 brave men into the jaws of death to save our kids!"

The manager yelled at the gathered crowd telling them nothing was going to change | Source: Pexels

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The statement resonated with many whose kids had been saved, and they shouted in response, silencing what the manager had been about to shout. Again Jon calmed down before he spoke: 

"There was a dreadful fire in the forest just south of here, and some kids who had gone camping were trapped in it. That man you're trying to run off led 17 men into that forest fire where they worked for days to rescue the kids and put out the fire before it reached the city." 

At that point, everyone in the room was quiet and somber as they remembered what had gone down that day; Even the younger ones could remember, and they all huddled together, drawing support from themselves. Jon continued: 

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"Of the entire unit after that fire, only that old man survived and not unscathed; he received many burns that cover one third of his body, and it was in memory of the people he lost to that fire that he decided to plant 17 trees. One stands for each dead rescuer." 

By the time he uttered the last word, everywhere had gone quiet, and they all had their eyes on the manager, who quickly cleared his throat before he said; 

Jon narrated to the manager how Pedro had rescued some kids caught in a forest fire | Source: Pexels

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"Look, guys, I had no idea that man had such a history in this town, but now that you've explained it all to me, then I must make an informed decision. You may all head back home; rest assured those trees will remain standing tall." 

The following day, Jon went to the older man's house with a bucket of water; then, he invited him to join him in watering the tree together. 

"What's the point, Jonny boy?" Pedro had mewled unhappily, but Jon was not about to take no for an answer. 

He eventually convinced the man to join him, but when they got there, the construction sign was gone and in its place was a nicely designed plaque with a title that reads: "these trees were planted in memory of 17 heroes who saved the city from a fire." 

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Many people were standing among the trees with water buckets and gardening tools, ready to honor those passed on so others could live. Pedro couldn't hold back his tears.

Pedro couldn't hold back his tears when he saw among the trees, ready to honor those that had passed on | Source: Pexels

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What did we learn from this story? 

  • Always respect elders: Regardless of what you have or who you are, it is only common courtesy to treat your elders reverently. This may seem relatively unimportant, but it carries a lot of weight, especially for them. 
  • We need to honor the heroes who save people: Heroes who give up their lives to preserve others deserve every shred of respect people aware of their sacrifice can muster. Choosing death is not an easy decision because the average human is selfish, thus only the best of us.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a grocery shop owner who fires an employee for feeding a homeless man only to find himself in a similar position months later.

This account is inspired by our reader's story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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