Linda often vented her frustrations on others. But the most affected person was her high school janitor, whose life she ruined in the most unthinkable way. Years later, Linda was hired to care for a wealthy old lady, but she was stunned when she met the woman.
With nothing more than a backpack and an old phone, Linda, 24, marched across Jacksonville. Her destination was unclear, but she was sure she wouldn't return home to her parents again.
"If they call you, tell them I'm gone for good," she informed her best friend Casey before switching off her mobile.
Growing up, Linda had a good life with her mom and the stepdad that came into her life ten years ago. But she often took it for granted. And when her stepdad turned down her plea for an incredible amount of money, she stole some cash from the house and fled…
Linda had stolen money from her stepdad & fled. | Source: Unsplash
It had been ten months, and Linda still wandered the streets, homeless and poor. One day, she stopped at the supermarket to buy some food. But only after going in did she realize that she didn't have enough money to buy even a loaf of bread.
"Yes, ma'am! How may I help you? Do you need a trolley?" the saleswoman asked Linda.
Tears rolled down Linda's cheeks as she recalled the nasty things she'd done to Janet.
"No thanks! I'll take care of it myself," Linda said and walked to the groceries aisle. She looked around several times before slipping four biscuit packets and two juice cans into her sweatshirt. The loaf of bread was too huge to hide, and she thought she would get caught.
She placed a candy bar at the checkout, saying it was all she needed, but the saleswoman shouted, "Security, please take her inside and check her! She's been shoplifting, and it's recorded in the CCTV camera!"
One day, Linda was caught shoplifting at a supermarket. | Source: Unsplash
Linda gasped. She was scared, and this would be the worst to happen to her. Just then, a stranger stepped forward and said, "No, she's with me! Her bill is on me."
Linda was astonished, and when she turned around, a man stood behind her. "Hey! I told you to take the packet of chips, did you not take it?" he dramatically asked Linda, who was baffled.
The man introduced himself as Wilson outside the store. "Oh, I'm so grateful to you...I am actually out of my credit...I am not sure if I can repay you," Linda said.
Wilson looked at Linda and smiled. She thought it was evil and several bitter thoughts fogged her mind. But even if she wanted, she couldn't excuse herself and leave because he paid for all she had shoplifted. After a brief pause, Wilson spoke up.
A stranger stepped up for Linda & settled her bills. | Source: Pexels
"I was looking for someone to look after my old mother," he said. "I'll be out on a long business trip, so I wondered if you could help me. You'll be paid on an hourly basis."
Although Wilson had caught Linda shoplifting, he realized that she had done it out of desperation. Since he couldn't find anyone to nurse his mom in the nick of time, he decided to hire her.
Linda readily nodded. She thought it was an amazing offer to save some money for college. She left with Wilson and soon arrived at a huge estate on the outskirts of town.
"Wow! This place is beautiful," Linda mumbled. "So, you and your mom live here, ALONE?" She got her answer in Wilson's narrow smile.
He showed her to the staff quarters but insisted she stay in the room next to his mom's. Linda toured around the house and, moments later, was taken to a deluxe bedroom.
"Meet my mother, Janet...." Wilson introduced his mother to Linda, who froze in shock. She looked beyond Janet's wrinkles and greys and recalled someone familiar.
Soon, Linda arrived at a huge mansion. | Source: Unsplash
"I KNOW YOU! ARE YOU JANET JOHNSON?" Linda exclaimed in shock. But when Janet agreed, Linda remained silent. She didn't utter a word more or talk about anything else.
Then she walked into her room and closed the door, traveling back in memory lane. "No, it can't be...It can't be Janet Johnson, my high school janitor...It can't be," she sobbed.
During her schooldays, Linda often vented her frustrations on others for no reason. Her resentment for her stepdad and mom usually came out this way, but innocent people had suffered in the bargain.
It so happened that Janet was a poor woman who worked as a cleaner in Linda's school. She was also a punching bag where students like Linda unleashed their emotional baggage by ridiculing her. But what Linda did one fateful day outdid everything.
Janet was a janitor in Linda's high school. | Source: Pexels
At the time, she framed Janet for theft of students' money and got her fired. Although Linda never regretted it back then, Janet had lost her only breadwinning job.
Tears rolled down Linda's cheeks as she recalled the nasty things she'd done to Janet. But she decided not to reveal her identity, fearing she would be fired.
Day by day, Linda harbored a close bond with Janet. She served her well and was top-notch with her duties. But something about Janet's sudden wealth baffled her.
Due to Linda's scheme, Janet had lost her only breadwinning job several years ago. | Source: Pexels
Later, she learned that Janet had married a wealthy businessman and moved there. She had lost her husband to a car crash and took sole custody of the estate with her son from a previous marriage.
Linda couldn't believe how time changed her life and Janet's. Although a part of her told her to walk out of the house, she couldn't do it because she had nowhere to go.
With each passing day, she did her best to care for Janet. The old woman reciprocated with kindness and treated her as her daughter. "Even if I had a daughter, I doubt she would've cared for me like you," Janet emotionally told her one evening. At this point, Linda could no longer hold back the truth.
Janet had married a wealthy businessman. | Source: Unsplash
"I know this would not go too well with you...But I want to tell you something about me," Linda shyly told Janet.
The old woman stopped sipping her tea and looked at Linda. "About you? What about you?"
Linda looked Janet in the eye. "I'm Linda Scott...I'm sorry, but I was the one who framed you for theft in high school....and...and got you fired."
Janet placed the teacup on the table. The saucer rattled, followed by an eerie silence.
"I'm so sorry, and I am ashamed of myself...I did it for fun...I'm sorry, Mrs. Johnson, Linda repeated.
Janet held Linda's hands and told her that she already knew her identity. "I am impressed by how time has changed you, my dear...Maybe I wouldn't have led this life if I hadn't got fired!" Janet chuckled. "Thanks to you for that!"
Linda couldn't believe her ears. It was too good to be true when Janet told her that she forgave her. The two harbored a lovely bond then onward. Janet offered to pay for Linda's college and even taught her how to do embroidery.
Four years had passed since that evening, but even after graduation and finding her dream job, Linda stayed with Janet and helped her. She realized how fate can push anyone into good or bad times and was determined not to look down upon anyone again!
Linda & Janet harbored a friendship that lasted several years and counting! | Source: Pexels
What can we learn from this story?
Click here to read about how a little girl who waited for her mom all night at the park was found by a kind janitor the next day.
This account is inspired by our reader's story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Please share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you want to share your story, please send it to email@example.com.