Tom received the greatest pair of sneakers on his birthday, and his friends noticed an inscription on the sole. Curious, he decided to find out more about it from the thrift shop owner who told him who originally owned the shoes. That's when Tom discovered something shocking and heartbreaking.
Tom woke up on his birthday, excited to go to school and see his friends. However, his family also made the day pretty special. They were not wealthy, but they all loved each other dearly. His mother worked as a maid at a hotel, while his dad was a mechanic, and they always tried to turn holidays and special occasions into beautiful memories with each other.
Tom dressed up in his nicest clothes for school and went downstairs. His mother had made his favorite chocolate cake, and she had already lit the candles. His dad smiled as soon as he reached the landing, and they both started singing happy birthday.
After Tom blew out the candles, his parents had another surprise for him. | Source: Pexels
The teenager blew out the candles and smiled at his parents, who cheered and rejoiced at their son. "Happy birthday, my beautiful boy. I hope you have the best day ever," his mom said with the biggest grin. His dad patted his back and repeated the sentiment.
“Kid, this is not just a thrift store. It’s also a consignment shop. Most people bring stuff here because they need money,” Mr. Byrne stated matter-of-factly and went back to his work.
Tom was about to leave for school when they stopped him. "Wait a minute! Do you think this is it? No, we have something special for you!" his mother announced with a coy smile and produced a shoebox, which they had been hiding for a few weeks in the kitchen.
Tom's eyebrows raised in surprise. Gifts in his home were scarce because they lived paycheck-to-paycheck, but his parents always made an effort. However, this gift was surprising because the box looked like one of his adored brands. When he opened the lid, he screamed in delight.
"MOM! DAD! Are you serious? OH MY GOD!"
"Congratulations, baby!" Tom's mom said as he grabbed the popular basketball shoes and tried them on. "Now, I can't lie. These are not new at all. I got them from Mr. Byrne's thrift shop, but they look pretty new, right?"
Tom loved the shoes and couldn't wait to show them off to his friends at school. | Source: Pexels
It didn't matter to Tom. He knew that his parents had explicitly looked for something unique and probably worked extra to afford them. The fact that they had discovered these at a random place was pretty amazing. "I don't care where they came from, Mom. These are amazing! Thank you so much!" he assured and hugged them tightly. "I can't wait to show them off at school!"
"They’re so cool!"
"Dude, this is awesome!"
"I want those too!"
"I can’t believe your parents found them at a random thrift store!"
"I know, right?" Tom bragged to his friends, who were all complimenting his shoes. His group was pretty awesome, and he let them take turns wearing the sneakers. That's when one of his buddies, Brandon, saw the soles of the sneakers and frowned.
His friend, Brandon, tried the shoes on and noticed something none of the others had. | Source: Pexels
"Hey, man. There's something written here," he said, sitting down on a bench and taking off the shoes.
Tom grabbed the pair and saw an inscription on the sole. It read: "To my dearest boy."
"Your mom probably wrote that," Brandon stated, pursing his lips.
Tom shook his head. "Nah, this is not my mom's handwriting. It must be from the old owner. Whatever."
They all shrugged it off, except for Tom, who was only pretending. He wondered about the inscription the rest of the day. Someone had really loved his sneakers, and the fact that they were in such pristine condition reaffirmed it. Maybe these shoes held a great deal of meaning to someone else.
When school ended, Tom walked to Mr. Byrne's store and asked around. The older man frowned at first, trying to recall the person who had brought them over, then he managed to remember. "Oh, these were brought in by a kid around your age. I think his name was Samuel. He lives nearby. Mrs. Gherkins’ son, I believe."
"Do you know why he brought them?"
Tom went to Mr. Byrne's shop and asked about the shoes. | Source: Pexels
"Kid, this is not just a thrift store. It's also a consignment shop. Most people bring stuff here because they need money," Mr. Byrne stated matter-of-factly and went back to his work. "But you can ask. They live a few houses over. The yellow house with the dog in the yard."
Tom walked out of the store thinking about the people who needed to give their things away for money. If the kid who owned these shoes had done so, he was probably sad about it. He had to know what happened, so he looked around that street and spotted the house right away.
He walked up the front steps and knocked on the door. A kid opened it, and he seemed familiar. Samuel probably went to the same school, but they had never met before. "Hey, man. My name is Tom. Are you Samuel?"
"Yeah. I think I’ve seen you at school. You’re a senior, right? What’s up?" Samuel responded with a nod.
"Hey, are these your shoes?" he asked, pointing down.
"Ah… well, they were my shoes, I guess," the other teenager answered with a crooked smile.
"What happened? Why did you give them away?" Tom prodded, not caring if he was overstepping.
Tom learned why Samuel had given the shoes away and made a decision. | Source: Pexels
Samuel reached back and scratched the back of his head. "My dad died a few weeks ago, and my mom needed money for some important medication. It's been rough, so I had to pawn them," he said, shrugging his shoulders. "I hope you enjoy them because I didn’t get a chance to."
Tom looked thoughtfully at the boy. "Nah, man. No one should have to do something like that. Here," he offered, removing his shoes right in front of Samuel.
"Wait, wait. What are you doing? You bought them. You’re going to return home barefoot?" Samuel tried to stop him, raising his hands at Tom.
"Yeah, it’s nearby. But here. These shoes are cool, and my parents probably worked extra to buy them. But it feels wrong to keep them. You should enjoy them," Tom insisted, pushing the shoes onto Samuel's hands.
"Man, this is really cool. But are you sure?" the other teenager wondered, looking at his dear shoes in wonder and tearing up.
He returned home barefoot and his parents couldn't have been prouder. | Source: Pexels
"Totally. Hey, if you want to play basketball with us at school, just join us!" Tom stated, then he started to walk away, so the kid wouldn't feel more embarrassed about his emotional display.
"Hey!" Samuel called out, wiping his nose. "I can give you some flip-flops!"
"It’s okay! I don’t live that far!" Tom shouted back and ran to his house, which was actually a few blocks, but this was fine.
That night, he explained what happened to his parents and how it didn't feel right to keep the shoes, especially when their previous owner had to sell them for financial reasons. He worried they would be angry, but his parents couldn't have been prouder.
"We raised a good kid," they both thought with a smile.
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