A wealthy man visits his late father's home for the first time in years to get some documents for work. He surprisingly found his childhood bicycle parked there in excellent condition, making him curious about who took it there.
George was a 36-year-old corporate executive who had everything he could want in life. He had saved enough money to last him and his family a lifetime, a stable, high-paying job, a beautiful wife, and two intelligent children.
The only thing George didn't have was a good relationship with his father, whom he got into an argument with when he was only 19 years old. Since then, he never saw his dad again and didn't try to contact him to make amends as he was too angry and proud to do so.
When George was 29, he got a call from his father's lawyer, saying his dad had passed away and that he had left George his old house. George felt his chest tighten a little bit, almost regretful that he never tried to patch things up with his father.
However, he soon remembered what happened when he was 19 and immediately forgot about his sudden feeling of sadness. Still, he went to pay his childhood home a visit, feelings of nostalgia surfacing as he looked at it. "I don't need this old hut," he muttered.
Since then, he never returned to the house or even mentioned his father to anybody. He went on with his life, working his way up the corporate ladder while remaining a faithful and loving husband and father to his family.
However, one day, as George was preparing for a big business deal, he realized he needed some documents from his dad's house. Another option for him was to request these documents from a government office, but it would take too long for them to process the papers. Getting the old copies was his best bet.
George made his way to the house in his brand new black SUV. He conditioned himself not to get attached to memories of the place and planned to just enter to take the documents and leave right after.
George visited his dad's old place to get some paperwork. | Source: Pexels
When he arrived, however, he recognized something that surprised him – there was a bicycle parked right in front of the house, and it wasn't just any bicycle, it was the one he used to own. "There's no way that's my old bike," he said, talking to himself.
As he got out of the car, he took a closer look at the bike. He was sure that it was his bike that his father once gifted him. He assumed it would be worn out by now, given it's been 20 years since he'd last used it, but this one was in perfect condition.
Being in his father's old property made George sentimental, but seeing an important piece of his childhood made his eyes fill with tears. He touched the bike, somehow glad to see it there as a reminder of the beautiful memories he had with it.
He suddenly recalled how his father taught him how to ride a bicycle every day after school and how one day, he snuck out of the house to take the bike on the road, only to injure himself. His father carried him a couple of miles to the nearest hospital after that.
George recalled how his father taught him how to ride a bike. | Source: Pexels
George thought to himself once he stopped reminiscing. He entered the house and saw nobody there. He wanted to know who left it there, but he had little time to spare as he was busy preparing for his business deal.
Checking his watch, George made a run for the documents and left. When he got home that evening, he couldn't shake off the thought of his bike.
"Who could have left my bicycle there? And why was it in such good condition?" he asked his wife, Melinda, after telling her about it.
Melinda shrugged. "I don't know, honey. Maybe you should drop by your dad's old house more often to find out," she suggested.
While deep in thought that same night, George realized that his dad's death anniversary was the following day. For the first time since the funeral, he decided to pay him a visit at the cemetery.
George decided to pay his dad a visit at the cemetery for the first time since he died. | Source: Pexels
Once he got to his father's grave, he was surprised to see the same bicycle he had seen near his father's house. Then he noticed a young boy who looked about 25 sitting near the grave.
The young man was dressed in ragged clothes and looked poor. "Is this your bike?" George asked him.
Surprised, the young man jumped before nodding his head. "Yes, it is. Or rather, this man owned it," he said, tilting his head towards George's father's grave.
Curious to hear the young man's story, George sat beside him. "I'm George. I'm Mr. Harris' son. How did you meet him?" he asked.
The boy looked at George and instantly realized Mr. Harris' son was wealthy. "I'm Alex. I've heard a lot about you," he said. "I was about 13 years old when I met your father by chance. I lived with my mom, who was ill, in a small shack near Mr. Harris' house. One day, he came to us and realized I needed help taking care of my mom and he did everything he could to help her."
Alex introduced himself to George before sharing his story. | Source: Pexels
Alex shifted his stance before he continued.
"My mother could not walk, and we didn't have extra money to spend on the bus or the subway. So, I would walk long distances just to get to school or the pharmacy or grocery store to purchase what my mom and I needed. Mr. Harris found out about this and looked for a way to make life easier for me.
"Mr. Harris found his son's – I mean your – old bike and gave it to me. All he requested was for me to keep it in good condition and to take care of it. He said that the bike meant a lot to you, so it also meant a lot to him. So I fulfilled that promise because Mr. Harris was such a good man."
At this point, George could feel his eyes fill with tears. It was true that his father was a good man, but the incident that happened when he was 19 made him think otherwise. His mother caught his father cheating on her with his former co-worker, forcing his mother to run away.
Alex took good care of the bike Mr. Harris gave him. | Source: Pexels
Since then, George felt nothing but anger towards his father, thinking he ruined his chance at a complete and happy family. He never saw his mother again, and he blamed his dad for that too.
"Mr. Harris didn't stop at just giving me the bike. He wasn't rich, but he helped us financially by providing us whatever he could. He even gave me some of your old clothes after seeing me wearing clothes that could barely fit me. He was such a good man, and I'm forever grateful to him for all his help. He was like the father I never had," Alex told George.
"Where is your mom now?" George decided to ask.
"My mom died a few years ago," Alex replied. "But you see, when my mom was sick, she wasn't supposed to live long. If I didn't have any help from Mr. Harris, my mom would have never lived that long. I'm so grateful to him for giving me more time with my mom. He helped me make her live as long as possible."
George's encounter with Alex caused him to change the way he thought about life. | Source: Pexels
"You are the son my father deserved to have," George told Alex quietly as he looked towards his dad's grave. "I'm glad he had you around to keep him company while I was away. You're a good man to keep your promise to my father even though he's already gone."
"I will forever be indebted to Mr. Harris. He entrusted me with this bike, which clearly meant a lot to him. The least I could do was honor his request to take good care of it. I love this bike, and I cherish it from the bottom of my heart," Alex smiled.
George flinched at Alex's words. He thought about his father's old house and how he entrusted it to his care, too, but he never bothered to.
"Meanwhile, I've been the most terrible son," he admitted to Alex as much as to himself. "I never even came to visit the house he left me and he gave that to me from the bottom of his heart. Even though I never made amends with him, he never took it against me... I'm guessing the only reason the house is still in good shape after all these years is because of you?" he said, looking at Alex and knowing he was right.
The young man nodded. "It's not a problem. It's the least I could do. I drop by the house and the cemetery every week to honor Mr. Harris."
George decided to make it up to his dad by paying it forward. | Source: Pexels
After encountering Alex at the cemetery that day, George suddenly had a change of heart. He decided to ask for his father's forgiveness, even though he was no longer on earth. And as a way of making it up to him, he knew what he should do.
In the following weeks, although he was busy at work, George found time to hire a team of builders to repair and renovate his father's old house. Once it was completed, he called Alex over and handed him the keys. "This belongs to you now, Alex. Thank you for caring for my father and loving him like your own."
George had his dad's old place renovated so that Alex could live there. | Source: Pexels
Alex couldn't believe what George had done for him. The house looked beautiful, and it was everything he could ever dream of. He couldn't help but cry, as this meant he wouldn't need to search for places to live, be it a trailer or an abandoned home.
"I don't know what to say. Thank you so much," Alex said, giving George a hug.
George promised to check in on Alex as much as he could. He helped him financially by helping him find a job, and he would invite the young man to family dinners on special occasions.
Since then, George and Alex cared for Mr. Harris' old house together, hoping to honor him in the process. The pair became like brothers to one another, and they eventually treated each other like family.
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