Source: Flickr/vintagechica

Woman Returns Home from Work and Finds Out Son She Left with His Stepfather Has Disappeared— Story of the Day

Sonali Bharadwaj
May 03, 2022
10:20 P.M.
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Sylvia was a single mother who raised her son Oliver alone until she married a man named Derek. One evening, she returned from work to discover Oliver missing. Derek had been at home all day, so she asked him where their son was. But Derek was equally shocked and said he had no idea.


Sylvia worked as a teacher at a private school in Austin, Texas. Her job was decent enough in terms of security, but because the salary wasn't enough to support their monthly expenses, she gave private lessons online in the evenings. 

Unfortunately for 8-year-old Oliver, Sylvia was always busy with one thing or another, so he never spent enough time with her as his other peers did with their parents. He came back from school by bus, while she drove back home as she had to take care of grocery shopping and other things all alone.

Oliver regularly complained to Sylvia about why she didn't give him enough time, but her typical response was that they spent enough time together because she taught in his class at school. 


Oliver frowned whenever Sylvia said that. He wanted to spend time away from school with her, but that never happened because she'd be busy working or on her phone.

Oliver was upset why Sylvia never gave him time. | Source: Pexels


One evening, Oliver returned from school and began insisting to Sylvia that he wanted to go to an amusement park on the weekend. Sylvia was busy on her phone, and at first, she didn't even listen to him. And when she did, she just refused, claiming she was taking extra classes on weekends and wouldn't be able to make time for it.

Oliver sulked on the sofa next to her, attempting to repeat that he wanted to go to the park, but Sylvia didn't hear him. He got irritated and tried to peek into her phone screen to see what she was doing that she was so preoccupied with, and he caught a glimpse of her texting Derek.

"Who is Derek, mom?" he asked suddenly.


"Derek is my boyfriend, Oliver. He's coming over for dinner this Friday, and…" She suddenly stopped texting and looked at Oliver, who had tears in his eyes. "Wait, I didn't mean to tell you about it like this," she said, embarrassed. "We - we were planning on telling you together, honey."

Oliver didn't say anything. He dashed upstairs to his room and slammed the door. He was jealous of Derek and the time Sylvia was spending with him, so he decided to exact revenge on the man.

Oliver was upset seeing Sylvia happily texting someone instead of listening to him. | Source: Pexels


When Derek came over for dinner that Friday, Sylvia made soup for all of them. As Derek was helping Sylvia in the kitchen to get the plates, Oliver secretly added more chili powder and salt to Derek's soup.

When they all took their first spoonfuls of soup, Sylvia joyfully asked Derek how the food was. "How do you like it, honey?" she asked, a huge grin on her face.

Derek, who was dying on the inside from the spice and saltiness, had to force a smile before responding. "Oh, honey, it's delicious. Perfect… It's, well, it's surely perfect!"

"I'm glad you like it," she replied, smiling. And it was then that Derek gazed at the smirking Oliver and understood it was his doing. However, he didn't lash out at him. Instead, when Sylvia went to the kitchen, he calmly told Oliver that he wasn't angry. But Oliver didn't care a bit for what Derek said, adding that he hated him. 


After dinner, Derek and Sylvia got busy with their phones, and no one paid attention to Oliver. This practice persisted even after Derek married Sylvia and became Oliver's stepfather. They'd be either working or on their phones in their free time. It was as if Oliver had vanished from their lives.

Oliver was jealous of Derek spending time with Sylvia. | Source: Pexels


One day, Sylvia asked all of her students in her class to write an essay titled, "My Wish." Oliver wrote one too, and he was excited for Sylvia to read it.

That evening, he wanted to ask Sylvia if she had read his essay, but Sylvia couldn't make time for it because she got busy with dinner preparations as soon as she returned from work. Even Derek didn't happen to have time for Oliver as he was always busy on his phone after work, so the boy decided to do something to get his parents' attention.

Oliver searched through YouTube for tricks to fake a fever. He viewed a couple of them and discovered that you could fake a fever using an onion. He took an onion from the kitchen and tried the trick while no one was looking. Surprisingly, it worked, and he expected his mother to be concerned for him.


But when Oliver tried to tell Sylvia he wasn't feeling well, she said she needed to go out for some urgent work and left him in Derek's care. Oliver was furious and lashed out at Derek. "Stop pretending to be my father! I hate you!" he screamed before rushing into his room.

Oliver was upset when Sylvia ignored him. | Source: Pexels


The next day, on her way home from work, Sylvia stopped by a grocery store to get some essentials and called Derek to ask if he needed anything. He had been home the whole day because he was on leave.  But Derek didn't answer her call. That was strange, considering he was stuck like glue to his phone all the time, Slyvia thought. So she called him again and again, but there was no reply.

Sylvia dashed home, worried if everything was alright. She arrived home in about 15 minutes and noticed Derek's phone was charging, and he was watching a movie in their bedroom.

"Derek, what's wrong with you?! Do you even know how many times I called you?" she asked, irritated.


"Did you call? Oh, sorry, the phone was on silent and charging!" he said, then got busy with the movie.

"Ah! You are not doing that again! Promise me! I literally died, Derek! I was so worried!"

"Sorry, honey. But as you can see, everything's alright. Don't worry, freshen up…Let's have your favorite pizza for dinner tonight. Let me make it up to you!"

"Ugh, whatever. I'll call Oliver," she said, then climbed upstairs to his room. However, when she opened the door, she was surprised to see that the room was empty, with no sign of Oliver. She looked in the bathroom, beneath the bed, and throughout the house, but Oliver was nowhere to be seen.


Sylvia freaked out when she didn't find Oliver in his room. | Source: Unsplash

"Derek!" she yelled as she hurried inside from the backyard. "Where is Oliver? He's not home! I looked everywhere, including our backyard! You've been here all day. Where is my son?!"


"What?" Derek paused. "But he was home...I saw him coming back from school! Maybe he went to a friend's house...Calm down, okay, let me check with his friends. You have their contact details, right?"

"Yeah, I think the diary is in Oliver's room. I asked him to put numbers there in case he made new friends."

They went over to Oliver's room and began calling his friends, but none of them had been with Oliver that day after school. Sylvia panicked, wondering where her 8-year-old son had vanished, and sank to his bed, crying.

Just then, Derek noticed something on Oliver's computer screen. 


"Sylvia," he said. "I guess we found him!" he added, pointing to the website of the amusement park where Oliver wanted to go. He had overheard Oliver asking Sylvia several times to take him to the park, and they guessed he could be there.

Derek and Sylvia guessed Oliver could be at the amusement park. | Source: Unsplash


They drove to the park and found him sitting on a bench, holding his bag and eating ice cream.

"Oliver!" Sylvia screamed at him. "Who gave you the permission to leave home without informing us?"

"Mom, I tried asking you to come with me, but…."

"Oh, Oliver! I'm not going to listen to anything you say! You will be punished for your actions. No video games for a whole month, and you're not even going out to play with your friends!"

Sylvia was so furious she locked Oliver in his room after they returned from the amusement park. Oliver had his dinner in his room, and Sylvia didn't talk to him even once.


Before going to bed that night, she began to read the essays she had assigned to her students, and one of them had her in tears.

"Sylvia, what happened?" Derek asked, worried. "Are you still upset by what Oliver did? It's cool, honey; he's just a kid. He'll figure out how to—"

Sylvia cried while correcting one of the essays. | Source: Pexels


"That's not the point, Derek," she explained. "Please read this." She handed Derek the sheet of paper, and he felt terrible as he started to read. "My wish is completely different from what others would want," the essay began, "but my mom always tells me that nothing is impossible. 

"What I want is to ask a scientist to help me become a smartphone. My parents are always busy on their phones. They play games on it, they send messages to each other and smile after reading them, and they spend all their free time on it.

"Maybe one day, if I become a smartphone, I will be able to spend more time with them too. They would pay all their attention to me, play with me, and be happy to see me in their free time. When I ask them something, they would reply to me. Often, when I ask mom if she can spend time with me, she says no. I don't like it when she says that. I want her to spend time with me.


"I hope one day my wish comes true because if I were a smartphone, I know I will have more fun times with my parents."

"Woah!" Derek said as he finished reading. "That is some essay. I feel sad for the kid, though. His parents must be too busy to notice he wants to spend time with them. Who wrote this, by the way? Is he your favorite student, that's why you got so emotional?"

"Turn the sheet, Derek," she said. "The students wrote their names at the back as I asked them."

Sylvia shared the essay with Derek. | Source: Pexels


Derek flipped the paper and almost dropped it from his hands when he saw Oliver's name on the sheet. "What? Oliver?"

Sylvia nodded. "Our son is so unhappy with us, Derek. He's right. I am so busy with work that I hardly pay attention to him. I didn't even notice how badly he wanted to go to the amusement park!"

"You're right, Sylvia. I feel horrible too. We need to make it up to him... Come with me. I have an idea."

Derek and Sylvia went to Oliver's room and noticed he was sitting quietly on his bed, staring out from the window. "Oliver, honey," Sylvia said. "Can mommy and daddy come in?"


Oliver turned around, still angry at them. "You can do what you want. That's what you always do," he said and turned to face the window again.

Derek and Sylvia exchanged an embarrassed glance. "Well, Oliver," Derek said. "We were thinking about having a picnic this weekend, and we're wondering if you'd want to join us, just the three of us. If you want, we can also go to the amusement park!"

Oliver was upset with Derek and Sylvia. | Source: Pexels


"What?" Oliver turned around, excited. "The three of us? Will we really go out?"

"Yes, honey," Sylvia nodded. "And we'll never use phones after work at home. We will always make time for you. Sorry," she said as she walked over to his side and hugged him. "I apologize for not spending more time with you, honey. I just finished reading your essay. Please forgive us."

"I'm sorry too, Oliver. I should have been more concerned. I promise I won't let you down from now on," Derek added.

Oliver locked his gaze on them for a moment before throwing open his arms to them. "It's fine. After all, we are a family. I was just upset that you both never gave me time, so I did everything to get your attention. And I'm sorry about the soup, Dad... I hope I can call you that."


"Oh, of course, you can, champ. Love you!" Derek said and hugged him.

"Soup?" asked Sylvia, confused.

Derek and Oliver looked at each other and smiled. "Nothing, mom," Oliver said. "Dad just wanted to make me some soup once, and I said no. That's it."

What can we learn from this story?

  • Spend time with your family, not your phones. After reading Oliver's essay, Derek and Sylvia recognized they were spending too much time on their phones and were missing out on quality time with their son.
  • Children are like young plants that need your attention and love to mature into beautiful plants. Oliver just wanted his parents to be there for him, and he was willing to go to any length to earn their attention, even if it meant faking a fever. Please take care of and love your children.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a bus driver who worries about a little boy who frequents a forest behind his school instead of attending classes and decides to follow him. 

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