Boy Vanishes after Parents Forget His Birthday, is Found Near Abandoned House with Balloon – Story of the Day
A little boy is devastated when his busy parents forget his birthday. He vanishes without a trace until he shows up at an abandoned house with a balloon.
Sam was so excited he couldn't fall asleep. Tomorrow was his birthday! He was going to be six years old. A big boy! He lay there imagining the presents he would get, the party! Maybe there would be a clown and ponies just like his friend Justin's birthday party!
Sam fell asleep with a smile on his face, but he would wake up to tears and disappointment.
Sam went to sleep dreaming about his birthday party. | Source: Pexels
Sam woke up bright and early. He jumped out of bed, ran to the bathroom, and brushed his teeth. Then he got dressed and ran downstairs. "Mom! Dad!" he cried.
He ran into the kitchen expecting joyous cries of "Happy Birthday!" but his father was yelling on the phone and his mom was putting on her high heels.
"Bye Sammy," she said, giving him a quick kiss. "Mandy is running a little late but she will be here in ten minutes, so stay out of trouble!"
A second chance is the greatest gift of all.
"But mom," Sam said, his eyes filling with tears. "What about..."
"Later, Sam!" his dad yelled. "Honestly, I can't wait for you to grow up! This constant crying for attention is irritating me!"
"John," Sam's mom said in a reproving voice. "Sam is doing his best! Now, sweetie, be good. We will see you later!" And with that, his parents walked out the door and left Sam standing there alone.
Sam's dad was busy on the phone. | Source: Unsplash
Sam sat at the table and looked at his cereal bowl. He wasn't hungry anymore. There was a huge lump clogging his throat and a hollow feeling in his chest. His parents had forgotten his birthday.
"They don't love me," he told himself, and hot tears trickled down his cheeks. "Nobody loves me. They wouldn't even notice if I disappeared..."
That gave Sam an idea. He would run away BEFORE Mandy arrived. That would show them! He ran upstairs and got his backpack and his favorite toy car.
He threw a couple of snack bars into his backpack and made himself three huge peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There! He was set! He slipped out of the back door just as his babysitter's car pulled into the driveway.
Sam started walking. He didn't know where he was going, he just wanted to be far, far away. Maybe he'd find a family who wanted a little boy who wasn't very good at sports like him...
He walked for a long, long time and his feet started getting very sore. There were no houses in this part of town, just lots of stores and a few warehouses.
Sam was so upset he decided to run away. | Source: Unsplash
He saw a bench and hurried to sit down, his feet dangling off the pavement. Sam sighed, and a voice said, "It's good to take a load off, isn't it?"
There was a man sitting on the ground with a big cup in front of him. The man was dirty, with a thick scraggly beard, but he had kind eyes. "Yes," Sam said. "It is."
"What are you doing here on your own, son?" the man asked gently.
Sam shrugged and rubbed at his eyes to stop a fresh flood of tears. "I've...I've run away," he whispered.
"Run away"? the man asked. "That's not a good idea! Your parents will be worried sick!"
"No, they won't!" Sam said bitterly. "It's my birthday and they didn't even remember. I think they will be GLAD to see I'm gone. I bet they won't even notice!"
Sam made himself some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. | Source: Unsplash
"I think they will," the man said. "What's your name, kid?"
"I'm Sam," he said. "What's your name?"
The dirty man smiled. "I'm Carl. You know something?" he asked. "I ran away too, that's why I'm here. The problem is that if you stay away too long it's hard to go home again."
"I NEVER want to go home again," Sam cried. "Not ever! They forgot my birthday. There are no presents and no party, not even a balloon!"
"A balloon?" asked Carl. "You want a balloon? Wait right here!" Carl picked up his cup and poured some coins into his palm, then he walked into the shop next door.
Sam could see a lot of bright streamers and cartoon characters in the store window. It was a store that sold party equipment and favors!
There was a homeless man on the street. | Source: Pexels
When Carl walked out, he was holding the string to a big, bright blue balloon printed with the caption: "Happy Birthday!" It was the most beautiful balloon Sam had ever seen!
"Is it for me?" asked Sam, excited. "It's beautiful."
"It sure is!" Carl said smiling. "Sorry I couldn't manage the birthday cake!"
"I have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," Sam said. "We can have a party."
"Come on then," Carl said. "I know a place where we can go!"
What Sam didn't know was that Mandy had called his parents and they were very worried. Sam's mom and dad went to the police straight away.
"If you stay away too long it's hard to go home again." | Source: Pexels
"He has a GPS locator on his watch strap," Sam's mom said. "Please, we need to find him!" Sam's dad was hugging his wife and fighting tears.
"I was so harsh to him," he cried. "And he's just a little boy. He's all alone..."
The police started tracking Sam's GPS locator. "We've got him," the officer said, and Sam's parents, along with two officers, drove to the location indicated.
It was an old abandoned house close to the business district, and sitting on the lawn were Sam and a homeless man. "Stop!" shouted the police officer. "Hands up and step away from the boy!"
Sam, who had been eating a sandwich with one hand and holding on to the ballon with the other, jumped to his feet. "NO!" he cried. "Carl is my friend! He gave me a birthday present!"
"I didn't harm the boy," Carl said quietly. "I swear it."
"We've been so worried." | Source: Unsplash
"Birthday present?" asked Sam's mom, then she started crying. "We forgot! Oh, Sammy, I'm so sorry!"
"Sam," his father asked, "Did this man take you away?"
"NO!" Sam said. "I RAN away because you don't love me."
"We do!" Sam's mom said. "We've been so worried."
"I'm sorry, Sammy," Sam's dad said. "Please forgive us, come home."
Carl said gently, "Sam, remember what I said? If you run too far, it's hard to go back." He extended his arms. "See? This is what happens when you run. You don't want this to happen to you."
Sam had the best birthday party ever. | Source: Unsplash
Sam stretched out his arms to his parents and they hugged him. Then Sam's dad turned to Carl and said, "How can we help you? Would you like a job?"
Carl nodded. "Yes, I would. But look at me. No one will give me a chance."
"I will," Sam's dad said. "You can start Monday as a janitor at my company. Maybe you can go home too, Carl!"
Sam's parents learned to draw a line between their work and their home life and to put their child first. Meanwhile, Sam had a great birthday party with clowns and balloons and ponies. But Carl had the best present of all: a fresh start.
What can we learn from this story?
- Nothing is more important or more precious than our children. Like Sam's parents, sometimes people get so caught up in their careers that they forget what is really important in their lives.
- A second chance is the greatest gift of all. Sam's dad offered Crl what he most needed -- a job, so he could put his life back together and start again.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a boy who receives an unexpected present from a homeless man on his fifteenth birthday and it turns his entire life upside down.
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