Despite not having much, a mom of two living in a car decided to share her meal with a poor neighbor, only to receive an expensive brand new home the following day from an unexpected person.
Diane was a young single mother living with her four-month-old baby and two-year-old toddler in a beat-up old car. She had separated from her partner shortly before her second child’s birth and had to raise the two kids alone.
Unfortunately, she could no longer work because she had to care for her two children full-time. This forced her to vacate the small apartment they were living in and move into the beat-up old car she once inherited from her late dad.
She had no other option but for them to live in the car, parking in random parking lots around town because all nearby shelters were full. Her savings were getting depleted daily because she had to spend on food, her baby’s diapers, and other basic needs.
Although Diane wanted to work to support her children, no one would take them in, and she could not afford to put them in a daycare center. So while her children were sleeping, she would draw simple artworks and sell them on the street the next day.
While this gave them additional money for their daily expenses, it still wasn’t enough. Diane’s long-term goal was to save enough money for daycare to get a proper job and provide her kids with better, more comfortable lives.
One day, Diane and her two children were walking back to their car after eating a simple meal from a local food truck when they spotted an old lady counting her coins desperately. “What’s the matter?” Diane asked the woman.
The old lady looked at Diane and sighed. “I haven’t eaten all day, but my coins aren’t enough to buy a meal. All I can buy with these coins is a cookie,” she explained.
Diane felt terrible for the old lady, who looked frail. “You must be hungry. You can have dinner with us. I’ll share my meal with you,” she offered without hesitation.
The old lady was surprised at Diane’s kindness, especially since it was evident that Diane wasn’t well-off. She was dressed in ragged clothes and had a two-year-old toddler wearing tight-fit clothes and a baby wearing nothing but a diaper wrapped around her waist with a makeshift baby carrier.
“Why, thank you, dear,” the old lady told her. “I won’t take much of your food, but I’ll admit that even a bite would be appreciated right now. I don’t know if I can make it home without eating anything,” she added.
With that, Diane and the old lady sat at a nearby bench and shared the rice meal she ordered. While the old lady, who introduced herself as Nena, devoured her half, Diane fed her two-year-old before feeding herself.
When she was done, she breastfed her baby, who was sleeping quietly inside the makeshift baby carrier.
“Do you live nearby?” the elderly woman asked Diane after she finished eating.
Diane shrugged. “I guess you can say that… my sons and I live in our car,” she admitted.
“Why?” Nena said in shock. “Do you take care of your children the entire day?” she asked.
Diane nodded her head. “My partner left me shortly after I gave birth to our second child. I couldn’t afford the rent alone, so we were forced to live in the car. No shelters are willing to take us in at the moment. I hope to get a job, but I can’t afford daycare right now. I’m still saving up.”
Nena felt bad for Diane but admired her hard work and perseverance to give her kids better lives. She asked Diane where she’d be in three days so they could meet up again, and Diane told her.
The following day, Nena reported Diane’s story to the local newspaper in hopes of getting help for her. Within two days, many community members pitched in to help.
A property owner decided to give Diane and her kids a fully-furnished two-bedroom apartment worth over $370,000, which he said was his way of giving back after selling out several of his properties in a month. A daycare center offered to care for Diane’s two children for free by giving her a lifetime gift certificate.
Last but not least, several companies heard about Diane’s determination to find work. She received many job offers, which also came with benefits, such as free counseling, clothing allowance, and medical allowance for her children.
Nena excitedly rushed to Diane in the location where she said she’d be after hearing about all the donation offers. They went to the community center together, where Diane heard about all the generous gifts the community members wanted to give her and her children.
One of the people present at the center was the property owner who decided to give Diane an apartment. After receiving all the generous gifts, he asked Diane: “Are you ready to see your new home?”
Diane looked at Nena in disbelief, because she couldn’t believe what was happening was real. She nodded her head, and together, they traveled towards the apartment building she and her children could now call home.
When they got to the beautiful apartment, Diane couldn’t help but cry. She never expected to receive such kindness from strangers and was overwhelmed with gratitude. When Diane asked Nena why she shared her story, Nena replied:
“You decided to share what you had, despite having so little. It’s only right that you receive the same kindness you so generously give others.”
What can we learn from this story?
What goes around comes around. Diane wasn’t expecting anything in return when she offered Nena some food. In the end, her kindness allowed her to receive even bigger blessings.
Pay it forward. When receiving an act of kindness from someone, always pay it forward by helping another person. That way, the cycle of kindness never ends.