Every day, an old man came to Zack’s bakery and asked for bread. Instead of saying “thank you,” he always said the same mysterious phrase. Zack never really knew what it meant until his daughter stood on the store’s threshold.
Zack had been running a bakery for a few years in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He opened it the same year that his daughter Clara was born to him and his wife, Julie. The store was doing well, but the last few months had been hard for his family for reasons he couldn’t even talk about anymore.
Even with everything going on at home, Zack kept the bakery going. It gave him a way out, and he loved what he did. One night, a person who was hungry came to his shop and asked for food. When Zack gave him bread from the day before, the man didn’t just thank him. Instead, he said something interesting.
“The bad things you do follow you. Before he left, the homeless man said, “The good you do comes back to you.” Zack thought that a simple “thank you” would have been enough. He gave a shrug and kept working.
After that, the man would come back every night to see if Zack had anything he could spare. Zack always had something for him, and he would say, “The bad you do stays with you. Good things you do come back to you.”
After a month of this, Zack asked him why he kept saying the same lines over and over. He smiled but didn’t say anything. He just walked away like he did every night.
Zack told Julie about the strange man, and Julie said, “Well, honey. That’s just how some people are. Who knows what happened to him?”
“I know. But it’s just so strange. Just saying “thank you” is easier. Do you think there’s more to it than meets the eye?” Zack was adamant.
“It sounds like he wants you to have good luck because you helped him so much. Some people think that just saying “thank you” is enough in every situation. “But maybe it’s not for him,” his wife said as she dried her hands after doing the dishes.
“The bad things you do follow you. The good things you do come back to you. I mean… It is an odd phrase. It’s not well-liked. “You might be right, though,” Zack said. He was glad to be talking to Julie about this.
In the last few months, she had not been the most talkative person. She was sad and kept watching the news all the time. Julie looked for answers online and talked to people in Facebook groups, but she didn’t find any.
Both of them were still hurting, but they never brought it up again. They stewed in silence as they waited for the police to come. But after months, they were beginning to lose hope. Zack wanted Julie to know that she could talk to him, but it was hard.
“Honey, do you think she…” Zack started.
“NO! I won’t say anything about that. Stop it, please. No matter how long it takes, we will wait. Julie snapped, “I won’t give up hope!” and went to her room. Zack let out a sigh and kept watching mindless TV.
The bakery was busy the next day. Zack didn’t have anything left at the end of the business day, but he knew the man would be there soon, so he got to work and baked a fresh loaf of bread for him.
As usual, after getting the bread, the man said the phrase again and bowed his head in thanks. “Hey, could you tell me at least your name?” Zack asked the man to stop before he went too far.
The man said, “My name is Jude,” and then he walked away.
The next day, Zack was in the kitchen working when he heard someone knocking on the front door. He called out, “We’re not open yet.” But it kept happening, so he went to see who it was.
He was surprised to see Clara standing at the door wearing the same clothes she was wearing when she went missing. “CLARA!” Zack yelled at his daughter and then hugged her.
He took his phone out of his pants pocket to call Julie, but he wouldn’t let Clara go.
His wife ran to the store, and they both hugged their daughter for a long time before calling the police. Clara said that a man had pulled her into a car, but she had managed to jump out of it in the middle of the interstate.
She hid in the forest so the man couldn’t find her, but after a while, she got lost too. When she finally got to places she knew, she kept walking until she was so hungry she passed out.
“When I woke up, a nice man gave me some bread and water. I told him my dad was a baker. Clara finished her story by saying, “He came with me here and left when I knocked on the door.”
Zack knew who she was talking about right away. When he looked at his wife, she knew what he was thinking. Jude did it. Clara had been brought back to them by him. The police said they would look into it, but the couple was just glad Clara was safe at home. The news of her disappearance had shaken them up a lot.
They didn’t talk about it and hardly saw each other for months. But now she was back where she should have been. Once they got her settled in at home, Zack cooked a huge meal and several loaves of bread to give to Jude.
He saw the man sitting on a bench on a busy street where businesses were. Before Zack gave him what he had made, they smiled at each other. He didn’t tell the man “thank you” even though he finally got the phrase.
“The bad things you do follow you. “The good you do comes back to you,” Zack said with a smile that showed he got it. Jude gave him a smile back and bowed his head. Then Zack went home to see his family again.
What does this story teach us?
If you help other people, good things will happen to you. Karma is real, even though most people don’t believe it. You get back what you put in.
A simple “thank you” isn’t always enough. Jude liked to say this phrase because it reminded him that people who do good things will be rewarded.
Tell your friends about this story. It could make their day and give them ideas.
If you liked this story, you might also like this one about a girl who made fun of another girl because her mother worked as a dishwasher at her father’s restaurant.
This story was written by a professional writer who was inspired by a story from a reader. Any similarities to real names or places are just a coincidence. All images are only meant to show examples.