A 12-year-old girl named Elizabeth joined her class for a field trip to a series of museums in Washington D.C., only to get lost and wake up in the hospital a couple of hours later.
Elizabeth was only one child out of 45 students. mostly aged 12, who traveled to D.C. from Maryland to visit museums for their history class. It was a 40-minute drive, and when the teacher did a headcount when they arrived back in Maryland after the excursion, she realized that they were missing one student – it was Elizabeth.
While her classmates were boarding the bus, Elizabeth wandered into a store to buy cheap souvenirs to take back home. Unfortunately, by the time she left the store, her classmates were nowhere to be found.
Elizabeth wandered through the streets of D.C., trying to find their school bus. Her parents had always warned her about talking to strangers, so she tried her best not to look lost so as not to attract any unwanted people.
Her teacher immediately reported her missing to both the D.C. police and her parents, who rushed to the nearby city immediately.
Unfortunately for Elizabeth, her cellphone battery was dead, and there were no payphones available nearby. Longing for shelter as it was starting to get cold, she walked through a street of houses, hoping to bump into someone her age to ask for help.
She didn't see any children on the street, but she did see an old man with a long beard holding a cup of tea. Desperate for help, she decided to approach him. "Excuse me, kind sir, do you happen to have a cellphone I could borrow?" she asked.
The man looked at her as if trying to read her mind. "Are you lost, young girl?" he asked. She nodded her head.
Elizabeth tried searching for their school bus, but she could not find it. | Source: Pexels
Immediately, the guy handed her a cup of tea. "Here, warm your hands with this. I have no money, I have been staying inside the abandoned house over there," he said, pointing to an open door. "You're welcome to keep warm in there while I get you some tea and sandwiches."
"Thank you, sir," Elizabeth said, removing a glove to feel the warmth of the hot tea. Without realizing it, she dropped the glove on the road as she proceeded inside the house.
She was surprised to see a dark room so neat and orderly, only with a couple of things inside. She placed the cup of hot tea on the small stool by the door and sat down on the floor.
"Here. This is a clean blanket. Use it for now. I'll be right back," the old man told her.
An old man offered Elizabeth to hold his cup of tea so she could keep warm. | Source: Pexels
Elizabeth was so hungry, with her last meal being that morning before she left for her field trip. She could feel herself getting weak because of her hunger, then she lost consciousness.
Her parents were already in D.C., waiting for instructions from the police as they navigated through the streets. One of the policemen suddenly radioed: "There is a small pink glove near an abandoned house. Waiting for confirmation to search the premises."
After a couple of minutes, more policemen and Elizabeth's parents arrived at the house. When they entered, they saw Elizabeth lying on the floor. "Oh my god, Elizabeth!" her mom shrieked in horror.
"Is my daughter breathing? We need to take her to the hospital right now," her dad quickly added, panicking at the sight of his daughter lying unconsciously in an abandoned house.
Policemen were deployed all over DC to search for Elizabeth. | Source: Pexels
At that moment, the old man entered the house. "What happened? I only wanted to help so I offered for her to stay inside the house to keep warm. I'm sorry," he said sadly.
"How dare you! What did you do to my daughter?!" Elizabeth's dad said, almost lunging at the man. However, the police intervened and took matters into their own hands by arresting him.
"You should have just minded your own business," the police told the old man as they got into the police cruiser. "If the girl does not make it, you'll need to serve time in prison," he added, shaking his head.
"I truly just wanted to help. She told me she was lost, and she looked cold. I gave her my cup of tea and told her to wait inside the house as I looked for some food to give her," he cried. He didn't want to spend the rest of his days in prison.
The old man was arrested after Elizabeth's parents thought he did something to her. | Source: Pexels
Meanwhile, the girl suddenly regained her consciousness at the hospital after a couple of hours. "Mom? Dad?" she said faintly when she woke up.
"Elizabeth, oh thank heavens you're alright! Are you okay? Did that old man hurt you or touch you?" her mother asked, holding her hand.
"What? No! That man was the only one who helped me that day. I was feeling so cold that he offered me a place to wait. He even gave me a clean blanket to use so I could keep warm and he left the house to buy myself some tea and a sandwich. Where is he? I need to thank him," Elizabeth explained.
Her parents looked at each other with guilt in their eyes. "We had him arrested," her dad admitted.
"Dad! No! He doesn't deserve to be in jail. Call the police this instant and tell them to let him go!" Elizabeth demanded.
Elizabeth woke up in the hospital and made sure to correct her parents' assumptions. | Source: Pexels
Elizabeth's dad heeded his daughter, realizing he made a big mistake judging the old man based on his appearance. He had thought the man was a bum who took advantage of his daughter, only to find out he was the only one who helped her. If he hadn't, she could have passed out on the street and things could have been a lot worse.
After Elizabeth was discharged from the hospital, she and her parents decided to go back to the abandoned house where the old man lived. They brought with them some food in hopes he would accept their apology.
"Hello, kind sir," Elizabeth said as they entered. The man almost looked scared at the sight of Elizabeth's dad.
"I'm very sorry for judging you, sir. I hope you can forgive me. Thank you for helping our daughter. We will forever be grateful," her father said.
The man smiled. "You don't have to worry. I am fine, and I am back home. Thank you for taking time to visit me, I do appreciate it," he said.
Elizabeth's mom carried food for the old man as a way of apologizing to him. | Source: Pexels
Elizabeth's mom handed him the bag of food. "Would you like to have a meal with us?" she asked. The man was delighted, as no one had offered him a hot meal in ages. He nodded and proceeded to place a mat on the floor so that the four of them could enjoy the food together.
It turned out, his name was Michael. He used to be a security guard at a shopping mall until the mall owners decided to retrench 50% of their workforce. He could not find a job, and he ended up on the streets.
Upon hearing the story, Elizabeth's dad decided to do something for the man for the kindness he showed his daughter. "Michael, I own a jewelry store in Maryland. Would you be interested in being our doorman?" he asked.
"Really? You're willing to give me a job?" Michael asked, a big smile forming on his face.
"Of course, why not? You're a good man, you deserve another shot. We can help you get a clean room in Maryland so that you have a place to stay, too. You're welcome to start as soon as you're ready."
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