A poor boy steps in to help an old blind woman who lost her wallet and can’t pay the $3 bus fare. He does this out of kindness. He has no idea that her son will find him the next morning.
The room was dimly lit by the moonlight coming in through the cottage window. Oliver was in bed, reading his book, when he heard his Grandma Anges’ voice.
“Oliver, honey, dinner is ready,” she told him. “Hurry up, boy!”
“No, Grams! Not now!” Oliver sighed. “It all came to a head!”
Oliver was interested as he turned the page of his book in the dim light from the candle on his nightstand. He didn’t want to put the book down there. Even so, he closed the book and went downstairs to eat.
Oliver loved to read, especially books with stories. He read them every night before dinner, on the city bus to school, and whenever else he had time.
His family and the cottage where he lived were both small. Oliver’s family was made up of his grandmother Agnes and his little sister Eve. His mother died of cancer many years ago, and after that, his father left them.
Your help might not seem like much to you, but it could be very important to someone else.
As Oliver sat down at the dinner table, everyone held hands and said a short prayer before starting to eat. He sputtered as he talked about the detective story he was reading because his mouth was full of food. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and kept telling the story with all his heart.
When Agnes heard Oliver talk excitedly about the books he read, she felt sorry for him. They didn’t have much money, and she knew that the lunch money she gave him was spent on books instead. Agnes was hurt that the boy was cutting up his food.
At one point, Agnes wanted to look for another job so Oliver wouldn’t have to skip his lunch, but Eve was young and needed someone to take care of her, and Agnes’ health wasn’t in the best shape. So, every night as Oliver told the stories he read, she smiled with a heavy heart. She wished she had raised her grandchildren better.
After dinner that night, Oliver helped Agnes clean up. He then went back to his books and fell asleep while reading.
Oliver was reading his storybook again on the bus the next day when he heard a noise and looked up. He saw the bus driver yelling at a woman with thick black glasses who was begging him to let her ride the bus.
“Even my cane, sir, I forgot to bring! She told the driver, “I was in a hurry.” “Oh, thanks to those kind people who helped me get to the bus stop. I need to see my kid. She is in the hospital!”
“You should get down, ma’am,” the driver told her in a flat voice. “I’m tired of people coming up with reasons not to pay the fare!”
She begged, “Son, I’m not lying.” “Please help me!” I’ll have someone pay you from the hospital!”
“GET OUT!” yelled the driver, who didn’t care. “I’ve had other people try it. Don’t throw away my time.”
The older woman knew she couldn’t convince the driver of anything, so she was about to get out and face the cold winds blowing through the city when Oliver stepped in.
He told the man, “I’ll pay for her fare, sir.” “Please come with me, ma’am. “There’s no need to get down.”
Oliver helped the older woman who was blind sit down next to him on the bus and paid her fare. He asked her if she was okay when he got back to his seat. She smiled.
She said, “Thank you very much, child.” “You sound like a little child!”
“I’m a big boy! I’m not a kid!” Oliver said it with pride. “And I’m called Oliver. “What did you do with your daughter?”
“Hello, my name is Mary,” she said. “My daughter just had a baby, and I have to see her right away. Oliver, thank you for your help today.”
Oliver said, “It wasn’t a problem, Mary,” but it was a problem for him. He put the money he paid for the older woman’s fare aside so he could buy the next book in the series he was reading. Mary was in trouble, but he couldn’t see it.
She asked him out of the blue, “Where are you going, Oliver?”
Oliver told him he was going to school, and they talked for a while until Oliver’s stop came and he got off the bus.
Oliver liked Mary. She made him think about Agnes. When he told her he liked books, she listened to him with the same patience as Agnes. “I’ll talk about her to Grams. As he walked to school, he thought, “She’d be proud of what I did!”
He did that, too. That night, Oliver didn’t talk about his books. Instead, he talked about Mary and the nice thing he had done for her.
“Good job, Oliver,” Agnes said. “Honey, that was so nice of you!”
That night, Oliver had no idea that the next morning he would meet Mary’s son. So the next day, when a tall man showed up at his door, he was confused.
The man asked, “Are you Oliver?”
Oliver said, “Yes, I am,” when Eve and Agnes joined him at the door.
“Honey, how can we help you?” Agnes asked. “Have you met Oliver before?”
He gave a smile. “I’m Jake. Yesterday, Oliver helped my mom, so I wanted to thank him. I asked people at the bus stop near your house for your address and got it. I have something for Oliver, just a second…”
He went to his car and came back with a box of books.
Oliver was shocked when he saw the books and said, “No way!” “Did Mary say that I love to read?”
Jake nodded. “Yes, she did, and I hope your surprise was fun!”
“Oh, son,” Agnes said. “You must have paid more than Oliver did for those. We can’t just agree with everything.”
“Yes, Jake,” Oliver said sadly. “For $3, you can’t buy so many books!”
Jake told Oliver, “You can keep them all.” “I don’t know how much of Oliver’s story you heard, ma’am,” he said, looking at Agnes. “But my Mom hadn’t been able to see my sister since she was pregnant. So, her trip yesterday was important, and Oliver was the only reason she could go. So here’s what I’ll do. Please. I insist.”
In the end, Jake was able to convince Agnes to take the books, which Oliver saw as a treasure.
“Mary is my favorite! Please tell her I liked the books, Jake.” The young boy made a sound.
“I will, buddy!” said Jake, smiling. “That will make her happy to hear.”
After that, Jake had a delicious cup of raspberry tea with some cookies that Agnes had made. He also helped the family fix up their house and get more electricity when he saw they were having trouble. Agnes, of course, didn’t want to help, but Jake again talked her into it, and she did.