Billy was raised by his single mom, Julie, who did her best to teach his son everything she knew. But one day, he returned home in shabby, strange clothes and wouldn't speak to her. She tried to be patient until Billy was ready to tell her everything, and the truth was more stunning than she expected.
"Ok, Mom. I'll see you later," Billy called out at his mom from the front door. He was munching on a bagel and leaving in a rush as he was late for the bus. Julie only waved and smiled.
Billy was a responsible kid, although academics were not his strong suit. However, Julie always emphasized that he had to do well in school and get good grades for a scholarship. She was a single mother and could never afford to send him herself, although Billy never lacked anything.
Julie did her best for her son even though she was a single mother. | Source: Pexels
Julia gave Billy everything he had ever needed, from a laptop to sports equipment and suitable clothes for school. But the price of tuition these days was rising like crazy, and a scholarship would help them out.
Julie knew Billy was trying his best in school, even if he did get into some teenage antics like every other 15-year-old tends to do from time to time. However, she never expected what would happen that evening.
He took a deep breath. "Ok. I'm ready to tell you what happened," he began, looking seriously at his mom.
Billy had called and told her that he was going to the mall in downtown Miami with his friends. Not surprising, as they sometimes walked around, strolled the shops, and ate at the food court. They were young and needed to socialize.
But when Julie turned around after hearing the keys on the front door at the end of the day, she was shocked. Billy had a pale and sad expression on his face. That's the first thing she noticed. The second was he was wearing dirty, old clothes that didn't fit him.
"Billy, what the hell happened?" she asked in shock, rushing to him quickly. She wanted to hug him in her arms and bring some comfort. But another aspect of Billy was that he didn't like to show a lot of affection. He was not the most affectionate child and believed men had to be men.
Billy wasn't speaking, and Julie didn't know what to do about it. | Source: Pexels
That was partly why his expression was so strange to his mother. Julie couldn't understand how hard he was trying to repress any kind of emotion, and maybe, she should've encouraged him to be more open about his feelings and thoughts. But for now, she only needed to find out what was wrong.
"Nothing," he answered, moving further into the house.
"No, wait a minute. Where are your clothes? I remember exactly what you were wearing this morning," Julie stopped him, and Billy wouldn't look at her.
"It's nothing," he muttered, dislodging her hand from his arm and going to his room. Julie cringed when she heard the door slam and thought about following him, but she didn't know if that was the right thing to do.
He might be going through girl trouble. Maybe that's what happened at the mall. But wait, what about his clothes? Did someone mug him? Is he getting bullied? Should I call his friends' moms?
She made dinner while Billy was in the shower, trying to distract herself. | Source: Pexels
Many questions ran through Julie's head, and she wanted to burst into her son's room, demanding some answers. But she didn't know if it was better to give him space. Finally, she heard him going to the bathroom and starting the shower. She decided to let him cool off and wait.
Later, Billy came down and sat at the kitchen table while Julie was serving dinner. They were both dead silent, as Julie was afraid of spooking him back into his room, but Billy grabbed his fork and placed it back on the table. He didn't want to eat until he got something off his chest.
He took a deep breath. "Ok. I'm ready to tell you what happened," he began, looking thoughtfully at his mom. Julie only nodded, afraid that speaking would make him shut down. "I was leaving the mall when I saw this kid trying to get inside, but a guard wasn't letting him in. I've seen this kid at school. He's a freshman, and it's obvious that he comes from a low-income family."
"I see," Julie mumbled, grabbing a bit of her food and taking a bite. But she noted how her son refused to eat.
Billy saw a kid trying to get into the mall but a guard didn't allow it. | Source: Pexels
"Well, the guard told him to go away. He wouldn’t let 'some bum' into the mall, and for some reason, those words just shocked me. I stopped and listened some more. The kid started explaining that he wanted to buy a present for his sister. The guard didn't believe it. The boy even showed him his dollar bills, but it didn't matter," Billy revealed, still not touching his food.
"What happened next?" his mom encouraged.
"The kid walked away, but I grabbed him. I started to take off my clothes to give to him because they were clean and looked decent. And I asked him to take off his so I could wear them in exchange. After we exchanged clothes, I told him to go through another mall entrance and they let him enter without issue," Billy expressed, but pursed his lips and placed the fork down again. "But it just kills me. It was literally all about his clothes. As if there's a dress code for the mall, Mom."
"Sweetie, sometimes guards are told not to let homeless people or weird-looking folks in. Maybe, that's what he was doing," Julie tried to explain.
"It's not fair. I mean, we're allowed in. It's a public place, right?"
Julie told him how proud she was, and how he did the right thing. | Source: Pexels
"No, honey. Malls are private property. Most people can enter, but they have to look like clients. But don't get me wrong. I'm not excusing that security guard's behavior at all. I'm just playing devil's advocate, I guess," Julie continued. "But… I have to say that I'm so proud of you for your behavior."
"You are?" Billy questioned, his eyebrows raised in wonder.
"Yeah. You saw someone who needed help and you stepped up to help out. That's what any mother hopes of their kid. Right now, I'm the proudest mom ever. That kid only wanted to buy something with his own money. From what you're saying, it probably cost him a lot to save that money, and he deserved to be treated with respect," she said, reaching out her hand to touch his over the kitchen table.
Billy smiled at his mother as her words eased his heart. The guard's actions were wrong, which made him feel sad. But he felt better after explaining everything. Julie was almost finished with her plate when Billy finally grabbed his fork and started eating.
Billy met the kid again at school and they became close friends. | Source: Pexels
The following day at school, Billy met the boy, Charlie, who returned his clothes and explained that he had gotten his clothes dirty while helping his dad for some extra cash at a construction site. His house was somewhat far from the mall, so he couldn't change and go back to the mall before his sister's birthday celebration that night.
He thanked Billy as he wouldn't have been able to buy anything without him. Billy felt seven feet tall after that day, and he and Charlie become good friends.
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