Luke was about to close his restaurant when an old man in a wheelchair entered. The man never placed an order and started crying. Luke was confused, and after listening to his sad story, he decided to take him up the mountain with a bottle of his wife's ashes.
Luke Wesley never had a rosy childhood. He lost his parents to a car crash, and after no relatives showed up to claim him, he was taken under the wings of a Catholic orphanage. He grew up there and moved out when he turned 16 to establish his life alone.
Of course, Luke was very thankful to the sisters who raised him with the other children. He often visited them and offered whatever he could from his earnings as a dishwasher in a deluxe restaurant.
Luke's hard work paid off well when he was appointed as the restaurant's manager several years later. Although Luke's friends advised him to marry someone and raise a family, he refused because he feared his children would have to live an orphaned life if something happened to him…
Luke started his career washing dishes in a restaurant & became its manager through years of hard work. | Source: Unsplash
"Oh, stop being downbeat, Luke!" his friends often mocked him. But Luke always feared the negative. He preferred to live and die alone than leave an orphaned heir.
"I couldn't take my eyes off her, and by the time I turned to look ahead, a speeding truck approached us."
However, Luke enjoyed his life to the fullest. After becoming the restaurant manager, he partied hard, vacationed often, and had a bucket list of things to do in life, except getting married. He was mostly alone because all his friends were married and sometimes turned down his offers to hang out.
Of course, Luke understood and moved on. He worked hard at the restaurant during his spare time, sometimes even staying until late at night. He'd be the first to arrive and open the eatery's doors even before the cleaners. His friends knew that it was one of his ways to remain occupied and forget about the usual humdrum of life.
Luke always kept himself occupied at work. | Source: Pexels
One such evening, Luke said goodbye to his friend who worked there. He dimmed the lights and sat at a table, vaguely rummaging through his phone. Just then, he saw an old man in a wheelchair enter the restaurant.
Luke was confused because his restaurant wasn't wheelchair-friendly, and they only delivered to wheelchair users. He observed the man's scruffy white beard and slender stature.
"Where should I take my seat, sweetheart?" the old man asked the waitress, who stood confused. Luke approached him to find out what he wanted and if he'd come in by mistake because the board outside clearly mentioned that wheelchair users were only offered home delivery…
An elderly man in a wheelchair entered the restaurant. | Source: Pexels
"This way, sir, I think this seat would make you comfortable," Luke spoke, showing the man to a seat by the window. He waited for a few seconds, hoping to get his last order for the day. But the old man didn't even look at the menu on the table.
"Oh yes, I'll take a look…thank you, son," the old man replied when Luke helped him with the menu. He walked away to give him time to decide on his order.
It was already 10:30 p.m., and the restaurant should've closed an hour earlier when Luke came out of the kitchen and saw the old man seated still. There were no orders on his table.
"What is it, Anna? Has he not placed an order yet?" Luke asked the waitress. "It's already past your shift…you may leave now. I'll take care of him," he told her and walked to the old man.
"Sir, would you like to have some coffee and a sandwich?" Luke asked the man. "Or do you prefer soup?"
The old man never placed an order & seemed lost. | Source: Pexels
The old man had his eyes fixed outside the window. It seemed like he was looking for someone or something to appear out of the starry night. Then he looked at Luke and said he was fine.
Since it was already late, Luke decided it was time for the old man to leave. He felt bad but pulled himself together and informed the old man that it was beyond closing time.
"Oh, I'm sorry, son…." the old man apologized. "It's just that this place reminds me of many memories…my wife, love, and…."
Luke was clueless about what the man was saying. He saw the man's eyes flood with tears and decided to give him some time alone. But as he stepped back, the old man called out to him, saying he needed to talk.
"My name is Andrew Smith, and I was a regular visitor 40 years ago," the old man narrated. Luke was confused because the restaurant was established 15 years ago, and Andrew's back story didn't add up...
Andrew burst into tears as he recalled tidbits from his tragic past. | Source: Pexels
"This restaurant was once a little café…a lot has changed over the years," Andrew revealed. "It was here I met my beloved Priscilla…she loved to watch the mountains just like me."
Absorbed into Andrew's story, Luke kept listening. As it turned out, Andrew and Priscilla's love for the mountains brought them together. They had gone hiking on their first date in the mountain.
"I still remember her blushing after I went down on one knee and proposed to her!" Andrew recalled in tears. "But then, she left me to die alone…."
Luke consoled him and helped him clean up with a napkin. He sat down to listen more and chimed in. "So…so what happened to Priscilla? And do you have children?" he curiously asked.
Andrew & Priscilla had fallen in love on the mountains. | Source: Unsplash
"We were celebrating our first wedding anniversary and were on our way to go hiking in the mountains," Andrew began. "I couldn't take my eyes off her, and by the time I turned to look ahead, a speeding truck approached us."
Andrew revealed Priscilla succumbed to the crash while he woke up in the hospital. He was severely injured and had lost his ability to walk. Luke's eyes gushed with tears, and he patted Andrew on his shoulder to console him.
"My only wish is to go up that mountain one last time and scatter her ashes there…She really wanted to hike that mountain," Andrew painfully spoke.
Considering his condition, Andrew knew what he wanted was impossible. But Luke thought otherwise. He asked Andrew to wait and immediately rushed outside…
Priscilla had succumbed to the crash. | Source: Pexels
An hour later, Luke returned with a rucksack, ropes, and a couple of straps. He assembled them and made a makeshift carrier. Andrew was surprised. Then Luke dropped Andrew at his address and promised to visit him once the weather cleared.
A couple of days later, Andrew answered the doorbell and was surprised to see Luke standing outside. As the two drove to the mountain, Andrew silently wept because it was the same route he had taken when he lost Priscilla to the accident.
A little later, Luke mounted Andrew on his back with the help of the makeshift mount he'd made. They arrived at the hilltop two hours later and breathed a gush of fresh air. The birds swooping high above and the grave silence atop the mountain reminded Andrew of his lovely days with his late wife.
Luke gently lowered him to a flat rock, and they smiled at each other, admiring the breathtaking landscape in silence. Then Andrew took out a little round bottle from his bag and kissed it in tears…
Luke took Andrew hiking to the mountain. | Source: Unsplash
"I LOVE YOU, DARLING…I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!" he shouted in joy as he hurled the ashes out of the bottle. A gush of breeze swept Priscilla's ashes away as Luke and Andrew watched in tears.
Andrew couldn't thank Luke enough for fulfilling his wish, and they remained thick friends from that day onward. Moreover, Luke discarded the old board outside his restaurant and placed a new one, reading: "WHEELCHAIR-FRIENDLY."
Andrew often dropped by the restaurant and dined with Luke. Sometimes, they spent time chatting, looking at the mountains, and planned to go hiking too!
Finally, having met Andrew changed Luke's outlook on having a family, and he wished he could love a woman like how Andrew loved Priscilla.
Andrew & Luke remained friends for years. | Source: Unsplash
What can we learn from this story?
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