A woman scornfully throws a homeless man out of her store, never imagining that one hour later she would be kissing his hands with tears in her eyes.
Karen Mulvaney was furious. Standing outside, under her elegant dark green awning was a beggar, and what a beggar. The man was filthy and Karen had caught a whiff of him when she arrived. He stank!
He was wearing a long dirty overcoat that had seen better days. His shirt and trousers were so ragged that his flesh showed through in places, and his beard and his hair were tangled mats.
Worse of all, this disgusting human specimen with his trembling hands and nodding head had taken up residence in front of Karen's exclusive and very expensive jewelry store!
Karen owned the most exclusive jewelry store in town. | Source: Pixabay
"Disgusting!" Karen muttered angrily to herself. She ran an elegant hand over her perfectly coiffed hair and sniffed. She'd get rid of the repulsive creature!
Karen stepped out of the door and the man immediately accosted her. "Please, Miss," he said pleadingly. "Do you have any spare change? Just enough for a cup of coffee?"
We all need a helping hand at least once in our lives.
"No!" Karen snapped. "Get out of here! Go beg somewhere else and leave my customers alone!"
"I'm so hungry," the man said softly. "I wouldn't beg if I didn't have to."
"You could get a job!" Karen snapped. "That's considered an acceptable alternative to begging!"
Karen was upset when she saw a beggar outside her store. | Source: Unsplash
The man lifted his hand and Karen could see it spasm. "I'm not much use anymore," he said bitterly. "Please..."
"This is the last time I'm telling you: GET AWAY!" Karen shouted. Just then, one of her best customers walked up and stared at her in surprise.
The man, an influential politician whose wife had a passion for emeralds, looked surprised. "Mrs. Mulvaney," he said. "Are you quite alright?"
Karen forced a smile and placed a soothing hand on the customer's arms. "Of course, Senator!" she smiled. "Come in! I have the most delicious parure to show you. Isn't your anniversary coming up?"
Karen ushered the man past the beggar and threw him a threatening look, but the derelict had hunched his shoulders and looked away and he didn't see it.
"Do you have any spare change? Just enough for a cup of coffee?" | Source: Unsplash
For the next two hours, Karen was very busy. Immediately after the senator left, a rich divorcée came in, eager to spend her multi-million-dollar settlement.
It was a very good day! As the divorcée left, Karen saw her pause at the door, her hand to her face. Then the woman fumbled at her purse and gave the man a bill with wincing fingers.
He was harassing her precious customers! Karen called her security guard who usually stood discreetly towards the back of the store. "Warren," she cried. "Get rid of that beggar! I want him gone!"
"Yes, Ma'am," Warren said. He walked outside and approached the homeless man. "Move along," he ordered. "This is a respectable establishment. We don't want your kind around here."
Karen couldn't hear what the man said, but she could see his lips moving as if he were protesting. Warren gave him a shove, and the man staggered back.
"This is the last time I'm telling you: GET AWAY!" | Source: Unsplash
In comparison to the burly Warren, the man looked very thin and frail. Karen noticed for the first time that there were dog tags hanging around his neck, dangling over his bony chest. He was a veteran!
Warren waved a threatening fist and the man cringed. It was hard to believe this human wreck had once been a soldier who had fought for this country.
"It just goes to show," Karen thought to herself. "What drink can do to people."
The man was shuffling away and Warren came back inside. "Thank God!" Karen exclaimed. "Melanie will be arriving soon and I wouldn't want her to see that man here."
It wasn't long before Karen's teenage daughter Melanie walked in carrying her school bag. "Hi, mom!" she cried. "I'm STARVING! The food at school was terrible today. Can I have some money please? I'll go across the street and have a hamburger."
Karen called her security guard. | Source: Unsplash
"Of course, honey," Karen said, kissing her daughter affectionately. She gave Melanie some money and the teen bounced out, tucking the earbuds of her iPod into her ears.
Karen watched her go, smiling. Melanie was the most important thing in her life. Her husband had died young, and she had never remarried. She lived for Melanie.
Karen was helping her clerk put away a tray of diamond bracelets when she heard a terrible screech of brakes and a desperate scream. "Melanie!" she cried.
She ran to the front of the store and saw her daughter lying on the street in the arms of the beggar! The car had stopped where Melanie would have been standing just seconds before.
The beggar saved Karen's daughter, Melanie. | Source: Pexels
Karen ran out and gathered her daughter in her arms. "Baby, are you alright?" she asked. Melanie was dazed and sobbing with fright and there was a scratch on her cheek, but she was whole and alive.
Then Karen noticed that the beggar had gotten to his feet shakily. He turned and started shambling away, limping. "STOP!" Karen cried. "Please, stop!"
The man turned around and Karen ran to him. She took his hands and kissed them gratefully. "You saved my daughter," she said. "I owe you everything."
"Lady," the man said. "You don't owe me anything..."
Karen was crying. "Yes, I do, and I'm a woman who always pays my debts."
Karen gave Ralph a job as a doorman. | Source: Pexels
Two months later, no one would have recognized the beggar. The old soldier, Ralph, was no longer a beggar. He was now a doorman and wore an elegant dark blue uniform with a gold braid.
Karen had found him an apartment and gave him a job, and best of all, she took him into her heart and into her family. And to Ralph, that was the best of all.
What can we learn from this story?
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who is shocked when she sees a homeless stranger wearing the pendant she'd buried with her fiancé after a fatal car crash.
This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to email@example.com
Orphan Woman Picks up Abandoned Backpack on the Street and Finds Her Childhood Photo Inside – Story of the Day
May 25, 2022
Lonely Little Girl at Bus Stop Asks Homeless Man to Adopt Her – Story of the Day
May 06, 2022
Man Approaches Little Boy Crying on the Street, ‘Take Me Away from Them,’ the Boy Begs — Story of the Day
June 04, 2022
Sad Girl Comes to Carousel Daily with Beggar, Ride Operator Recalls Her Coming with Dad – Story of the Day
May 15, 2022