For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock
For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Dad Raises Twin Babies Alone despite Losing His Legs; Gets $2M Chance to Walk Again — Story of the Day

Preeti Pillai
Aug 10, 2022
06:50 P.M.
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Jon Ryder's life had turned upside down after he lost both his legs, his job, and his wife who left him to raise their twins all by himself. Things were about to change when an old couple knocked on his door.


Frost was beginning to settle on the window frames. "Are they falling? Or are they flying? What would these little specs of snow have to say about it?"

Jon looked at the outside world through the glass against the background of Brahms' lullaby. It looked like a beautiful but heartbreaking blur. He couldn't remember the last time he was out buying groceries like that woman crossing the street.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

He couldn't remember the last time he felt the leather of a steering wheel in the grip of his palms or the wind in his hair. He didn't remember how it felt to walk barefoot on grass or how it felt to have legs at all.

It had been three weeks since the first tragedy struck: the accident. It was a Friday, his last Friday as an assistant supervisor at the Higgs construction company. He traced his eyes along the height of the iron-and-cement frames of the high-rise apartment building that was in the making.


In about 8 months, the project would be ready, adding a touch of poetic beauty to the otherwise dull-looking neighborhood. But in about three months, something infinitely more beautiful was set to arrive in his and Louise's life.

"If they're going to be girls, we'll name them Claire and Diana," the young couple had finally agreed after months of looking at baby name websites.

"What if they're boys, though? What will their names be?" Louise asked.

Jon secretly wished that it would be a girl and a boy. But he was still in search of the perfect boy's name.

On his last day at work, Jon spotted a little boy running playfully between the safety cones lined up around the site.

"Hey, little man. I need you to take a few steps back, okay?"

"What are you making here?" The boy appeared to be about four or five years old, but there was the sincerity of a retired old man in his question.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images


Jon smiled and said, "Apartments."

"Woah! That's amazing. Can I get one?"

Jon's friend, who had been listening to the conversation, chuckled warmly at the boy's innocence.

"Yeah, man, can I get one, too? Actually, you know what? I'm going to need two. That's the only way my mother-in-law may stop hanging around our house all the time."

More men in yellow and orange vests laughed at the banter.

"You know what? Come back here with your parents in about eight months. Let me see what I can do."

"Awesome! Thank you, sir." The boy adjusted his shirt and leaned in for a handshake.

"Now off you go. Hold on, what's your name, son?"


Jon's eyes lit up as he heard the name.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images


That was the last thing he remembered hearing. When he woke up next, he was staring at a blank ceiling above him, long plastic curtains on one side, and a beeping monitor and drips on the other.

It took a few seconds for Jon to become aware of his body, but he remembered feeling strange numbness over his legs.

"What happened? Where am I?" he asked the nurse who had come to check his vitals.

That's when he learned about the accident two days ago. A pile of concrete slabs and iron scaffolding were being machine-lifted to the higher floors when the lift malfunctioned, leaving the slabs to freefall in full force. Unfortunately, they landed on Jon, who was instantly unconscious and suffered multiple injuries.

"Consider yourself lucky," the doctors told him. "An inch here and there, and you would have suffered a fatal head injury that no safety helmet could have saved you from."

By now, Jon was thinking about Louise.

"Where's my wife? Is she here to see me? Can you call her?"

The doctor took a moment to breathe out and gather his strength. "You wife is in labor."


Jon felt his chest tighten. 'This can't be happening.'

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"That's…not possible, doctor. My wife is only in her sixth month of pregnancy. The baby shower is literally tomorrow. Maybe you've got her mixed up with someone else. Her name is Louise. Louise…"

"Louise Ryder. 34-year-old, week 24, multiple pregnancies. That is your wife, sir. She is in labor."

The doctors spoke in clear words and a kind tone when they told him about the premature labor. There were multiple complications to ride through, but the doctors assured her she was in the best hands at the moment.

"When can I see her?" Jon asked, fighting back his tears.


"She's in surgery right now. We'll let you know."

But that wasn't enough for Jon. He felt the urge to get up, detach the drip lines and dash out of the room to meet his wife.

Only he knew how overwhelmed she really was throughout the pregnancy. While Louise tried her best to keep a happy, hopeful face on, only Jon knew how depressed she had secretly been in the last few weeks.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"Please, doctor, at least let me wait outside the operation room. I'll be no trouble, of course. I'll walk there by myself."

Hearing this, one of the nurses in the room broke into tears and left. The doctor looked at Jon, and somehow, Jon knew exactly what he was about to say.


"I'm sorry, sir. The accident had infected both your legs. We had to amputate below the knee..."

Jon was startled back to the present moment by the cries of a baby in his room. It was Caleb.

"Hi, little champ. You must be hungry. Here," Jon parked his wheelchair right next to the crib and leaned in to offer Caleb a bottle of formula.

He carefully looked over Caleb. Fortunately, his twin sister Claire was fast asleep right next to him. They were the only two things left that made any sense in his world.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

Everything else had abruptly left his life. His job was the first to go. The company he thought was about to promote him to senior supervisor had done a complete 180 when they learned of the incident.


"We have to let you go, Jon. We cannot justify having you on our construction team anymore. We can't compensate you because we don't believe the accident was our fault. Now you can fight us in court, of course. But you can't imagine how expensive the legal fees will be. They're going to cost you an arm and a leg!"

His boss immediately apologized for the insensitive pun, but Jon knew that it was said on purpose to some extent.

The boss was right. There was no way Jon could afford a good lawyer, especially with his job gone. So despite feeling stripped of his dignity and respect, he accepted the wheelchair his company gave him as a 'farewell gift' and returned home.

So, just weeks into fatherhood, Jon was unemployed, his wife was depressed at home, and his prematurely born twins were still under observation in the NICU. But becoming a father had filled Jon with an indescribable amount of self-belief and hope. He didn't know how, but he knew he would make it.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images


He knew the babies and Louise would be alright and that somehow, someday, he would have saved up enough to get prosthetic legs.

But the most devastating moment of his life was yet to come.

Jon was coming home from the hospital that day. He kept replaying what the doctor had told him throughout the taxi ride.

"Both babies are stable and doing well. You can take them home in two days."

"Louise is going to be thrilled! This is the news that will help her shake off the gloom."

"Louise, honey! I have great news..."

He didn't see her in the living room.

"She must be taking a nap..." Jon rolled his wheelchair slowly to the bedroom, trying to contain his excitement.

Louise wasn't there either.

Jon's heart sunk as he imagined his worst fear coming true. Soon, he looked in every room of the house again and tried calling her multiple times, with no success.

He sat before Louise's closet and was reluctant to open it. He feared that he would find it emptied out, including the suitcases. He was afraid that she had acted upon her recurring impulse and finally left.


For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"Jon, I'm not ready for this. I feel like I will never be. This is not the future I wanted for us, for me. You are right: if I just leave, I won't know where I'd be going. But at least I wouldn't be here anymore."

"They are your children more than they might ever be mine."

"When they're ready, tell them the truth. Tell them I tried."

Jon's hands went cold after reading the letter. It was true. She had left, and she was never coming back.

Jon was frozen in that feeling when a loud knock on the door shook him back to the present again.

It was an old couple. Jon hadn't seen them before, but they were vaguely familiar.


"How can I help you?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"We're cold and lost. Could we come in for a cup of warm water?"

Jon made the couple feel at home, and they were more than thankful. 'Where have I seen this woman before?' He couldn't let that thought go.

What Jon didn't notice was that the old man and woman seemed to bring up the subject of children unusually early in their small talk. Or they had more than misty eyes when they saw Caleb and Claire asleep.

"Can I get you another cup of coffee? There's cocoa, too." Jon felt refreshed to be in the company of someone other than his quiet babies.


"No, no, this is quite enough. So, their mother left, you said?"

"Yes, a few weeks after my accident and the babies' birth. It was rough, but luckily, my old savings are getting us by. Babies don't really need a lot during this time, you know!"

The old woman cleared her throat and signaled her husband to weigh in.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"You know what? I might actually be able to help you with that. You've worked in construction, so you would be virtually perfect for the job!"

The old man explained that his architecture firm was starting a new branch in the city. He was looking for people with expertise in understanding engineering, modeling, and even construction.


"Unless you want to switch to a different field altogether," the old man added meekly.

Jon broke into laughter. "Have you looked at me, sir? I don't really have a lot of career options to switch between. So yes, I'll take the job."

That called for another round of celebratory coffee and conversation. 'This is an extraordinary day in my life,' Jon thought.

"What about your family? You must be married a long time."

The woman jumped in, "Oh, I've been putting up with this old man for over five decades. It feels like forever!"

"Have you got kids?"

As the couple heard this question, something in their eyes changed.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images


"Yes, one daughter. She ran away from home to marry someone she loved. She never spoke to us since then, but we've been told that she did something unspeakable. We do not like to talk about that."

"Oh, so sorry, ma'am. I didn't mean to pry. I hope she comes back to you someday."

'Just like I hope Louise comes back to me someday," Jon added to himself.

"Listen, son. There's one last thing I want to help you with before we leave. There's a friend of mine who is a fantastic prosthetist. Just give him a call."

Jon was moved by the old man's kindness.

"That's incredibly kind of you, sir. But I really don't have the money to pay for those things. I can't possibly..."

"Just give him a call. Consider it a pre-requisite for joining my company."

"Yes, boss!" he saluted the old man light-heartedly.

The man handed Jon two business cards - one of the prosthetist and the other of his own company.


For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

The following day, Jon called the prosthetist.'No harm in finding out how much it would cost,' he thought.

"Mr. Ryder. I was expecting your call. When can you visit the clinic?"

When Jonathan insisted on knowing the cost, the doctor finally said, "The best set of prosthetic limbs in the market cost about $2 million. But don't worry, your prosthetic legs and consultations have been paid for."

The prosthetist confirmed that the check for $2 million was given to him in advance by one Mr. Keller. As Jon heard this, he suddenly remembered who the old man and old woman reminded him of.

Louise! They were Louise's parents, whom he never had the chance to meet.


They were the ones that Louise had run away from to marry Jon. And yet, after everything, they were the ones who stepped up and offered to help him get his life back together.

Jon wiped his tears and dialed the number on his former father-in-law's business card.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"Hello, Mr. Keller. I'm sorry I didn't recognize you yesterday..."

"You have nothing to apologize for, son. You've taken everything that life has thrown at you and managed to make something beautiful out of it. You're raising twins while being wheelchair-bound, for god's sake."

After months of holding himself together, Jon finally broke down on the call.


"We knew you were a man of pride. We knew you wouldn't accept help unless you felt you had earned it. Well, you have. And this is just the beginning."

"I don't know what to say, sir…."

"You don't have to say anything. After what my daughter did to you…she had no right to abandon you this way!"

"You've suffered enough. This is not the life that you or my grandchildren deserve. From now on, you have a job. And you have a family."

What can we learn from this story?

  • The responsibility of raising a child is not one person's alone. While Louise couldn't fulfill her role as a mother in raising the twins, her parents realized that they had an important part to play.
  • Be generous with the kindness and forgiveness you have in your heart. Louise's parents chose to act in kindness, even toward the man who their daughter had left them for. And it ended up changing a struggling man's life.

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 hardworking single dad who was ridiculed by a millionaire businessman. But later, he encounters kindness from an unexpected person.

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 info@amomama.com.



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