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Man Sees His Ex-Father-in-Law Wandering Streets for Days, 'Give Me Shelter,' Old Man Begs — Story of the Day

Roshanak Hannani
Jul 28, 2022
12:20 P.M.
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Zach's wife, Wendy, abandoned him with their newborn baby. It rocked his world, but he recovered while raising their daughter. Years later, he unexpectedly found his ex-father-in-law wandering the streets and discovered an astonishing truth he had never imagined.


The gurgling sounds of the coffee machine pleased Zach as the air filled with the aroma of the roast. He prepared himself a cup when it was ready, sipped a bit, and marveled at how much his life had changed in only a few years.

Three years ago, his wife, Wendy, delivered their firstborn, a beautiful daughter named Marissa, and he thought their life would be perfect. Two days later, she abandoned them.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


"I can't do this, Zach! Don't try to find me. Don't call my family. Move on!" she told him after finally answering the phone but hung up before he could beg for a deeper explanation. She was gone, and he didn't know what to do.

Zach led him toward a bench and tried to comfort him as much as possible. And when the older man calmed down, he revealed something Zach never expected.

He wanted to drink, play video games, and lose himself in the numbness. But that was not possible. He had his baby girl to think about, and she came first. Therefore, Zach threw himself into raising his daughter, and eventually, the divorce from his ex-wife was finalized.


When he least expected it, Iliana entered his life. She had been widowed way too early and had no kids. They clicked immediately after meeting at a work conference and they moved in together only six months later. Iliana and his daughter also connected as if they were meant to be a family all along.

And now, Zach drank coffee while waiting for his beautiful girls to wake up, and there was nothing more peaceful than that. The only caveat is that he never knew exactly why Wendy left. It bugged him sometimes. She didn't seem like that kind of person when they got married, but he was obviously wrong.

The other issue was that her family cut him and their daughter off immediately, even though they had been so excited during Wendy's pregnancy. Her parents had been so supportive and delighted, but they didn't reach out, and Wendy didn't want him calling them. So he didn't, although he felt awful that his daughter wouldn't have her grandparents in her life.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Morning, love," Zach heard behind him, and he felt a smile forming on his face as Iliana's arm twisted around his torso, distracting him.


"Morning, baby," he answered and fixed her a cup of coffee. "Is Marissa up?"

"I don't think so, but let her sleep for a while longer," Iliana answered, taking the cup into her hands.

"Yeah," he added and turned his face towards hers for a morning smooch.


Zach's life now seemed perfect. He was leaving work to pick up her daughter from daycare, as Iliana usually left her job later.

But to his shock, he saw his ex-father-in-law, Marcus Smith, walking the streets of the San Diego commercial area. That was odd.


Zach wanted to stop his car and talk to him, but there was nowhere to park. He continued driving and shook his head at the idea of trying to connect with that part of his past.

"They didn't reach out," he told himself and continued with his day.

He saw Mr. Smith wandering around the next day, and this time Zach could've approached him but didn't, sticking to his original plan not to reach out. However, the older man wandered the streets near his office every single day for a week, and something didn't seem right. His home was on the other side of the city. It didn't seem right for him to be walking around this area daily.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The next time Zach saw Mr. Smith, he stopped.

"Mr. Smith?" he said, reaching his side.


The man seemed disoriented but looked straight at him, and recognition finally dawned in his eyes. "Zach! Dear God!" he said, his tone desperate, which made Zach frown. "My boy. How have you been?"

"I've been fine Mr. Smith. How about you?" he replied, noticing that the man looked haggard for some reason, even though he had always been a pure gentleman with dress shirts and pressed trousers.

"Oh, well… you know," the older man said, looking down.

"How about Mrs. Smith?" Zach continued.

"Camille… died two years ago," he responded, linking his hands, his eyes still downcast.


"My sincerest condolences. She was a lovely woman," Zach said sincerely. He had loved his ex-mother-in-law too. "How is Wendy?"

"Wendy is… well… I don't really know," the older man started, making Zach think he didn't want to divulge. But suddenly, his throat hitched, and his eyes watered.

"Mr. Smith? What's wrong? Are you ok?"

"No… no, I'm not," he responded, covering his eyes in shame.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


Zach led him toward a bench and tried to comfort him as much as possible. And when the older man calmed down, he revealed something Zach never expected. Wendy had thrown Mr. Smith out of the house when her mother died. Then she sold the house and left for Los Angeles with her boyfriend.

"She was cheating on you. That's why we didn’t reach out. We were so ashamed, and well, she told us not to reach out. But Camille and I really wanted to call you, to see the baby, and then she died. I didn't know what to do. And then… well, Wendy discovered that the house was officially hers after my wife's death, and she kicked me out. Just like that," the older man stated, choking on some of his words.


"I don't know what to say… what was Wendy thinking?" Zach chimed in, shaking his head in horror.

"I don't know. She's not the daughter I raised, but also that boyfriend...he's terrible. I think it was him who convinced her to leave you, to leave her baby, and to kick me out of my own house. She threatened me with lawyers, and I… just left," Mr. Smith revealed.

"Where have you been since then?"

"At first, with my brother. But then, I had to leave. I've been at homeless shelters and overstayed my welcome. No one wants to hire an older man nowadays. I had already retired, but my pension is not enough to rent in this city. I'm just lost," the older man explained.


"Why didn't you call me?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"How could I, my boy? After all those years that I cut you and my granddaughter off? I was ashamed."


"And why have you been wandering around this area?"

The older man sighed. "This is another shameful revelation, but what the hell. People around here are more generous. They give me their extra cash and sometimes buy me food. I've been saving as much as I can. But it's so hard."

"Mr. Smith, you should've called me," Zach shook his head.

"Would you have done something for the man who abandoned his granddaughter?" he asked.

"I would've. 100%."

He was silent for a few minutes before hanging his head and begging, "Would you give me shelter, my boy?"


Zach's eyes watered at his tone, and he could only nod his head eagerly. Then he wrapped his arm around the man.

Iliana welcomed Mr. Smith with open arms, especially after Zach explained precisely what happened. "At least, now you know why your ex-wife left and the bullet you dodge," she joked later in the night when they were alone.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


Marissa loved having her grandpa around, and Mr. Smith volunteered to babysit every day so that Zach and Iliana didn't have to pay for childcare any longer. The older man lived with them for 15 years before passing away, but he brought so much joy and a sense of family to their home, proving that family is all that matters in the world.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Family is more important than anything else in the world. No one will love you as much as your family, and they should always be a priority. Zach offered the older man shelter, even though they were not legally related anymore. But he was still his family – his daughter's grandfather.
  • Some things happen for a reason, even if you don't know it at that moment. Although Zach was devastated when Wendy left, his life was much better a few years later. So his pain happened for a reason.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who lied to her father-in-law so she could honor her husband's wishes.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers 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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