A young girl who lives alone and gives some of her food to a homeless man who is begging on the street near her home is shocked when the man comes back to take her in.

Marlene Halley walked past the same corner every day on her way home from school. She didn’t really live there. Marlene had lost both of her parents, so she went to live with a foster family.

It wasn’t easy. Her foster parents were nice, so that wasn’t the problem. They just had three other kids to take care of. Marlene felt very alone at times before she met Brad.

Brad was sitting on the corner of Marlene’s street when she saw him. He was dirty and wore ragged clothes. His hair and beard were matted and shaggy, but his eyes were sad.

She knew how sad that was. She had seen that same lost, confused look a thousand times in her own mirror.

Marlene finally got up the nerve to talk to the man one day. She said, “Hello.” “Is your heart also broken?”

The man had been looking down, but when he saw Marlene, he turned his head to look at her. He asked, “A broken heart?” “Yes, yes… “How do you know that?”

Love gives us the strength to put our sadness aside and start living again.

Marlene sat beside the man. “I know, because my own is broken,” she said. “I can tell from your eyes that you, like me, can’t go home.”

Marlene saw that the man’s shoulders were shaking like he was crying as he put his hands up to cover his face. She was gentle with him. She said, “I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry I made you cry…”

“It’s fine,” said the man. “You know, sometimes it’s healthy to cry. “Blows away the dust from the heart.”

“Cobwebs?” Marlene asked. “Your heart is full of SPIDERS? Yuck! I hate spiders!”

“Well,” said the man. “When your heart breaks, sometimes all that keeps it together are the cobwebs. And besides, I like spiders.”

Marlene giggled. “Eensy, Weensy spiders?” she asked. “Thank you, but no!”

“My name is Brad,” said the man. “I’ve been sitting in this corner for two years and nobody has ever asked me… or saw that I was upset.”

“I know…” Marlene said. “I think that when people see that someone is sad, it scares them. They believe that sadness spreads like the flu.”

“So why are you sad?” Brad asked Marlene. So, the little girl told him all about her parents and how she was all alone in the world and felt very lonely.

She asked Brad, “But why do you sit here?”

He turned away because he felt bad. He said, “I wait for people to give me money.” “To be able to buy food.”

“Are you hungry?” Marlene asked. “I have food!” She reached into her school bag and pulled out a sandwich that was all squashed up and had filling coming out of the sides.

Brad took the sandwich and told Marlene that it tasted great. Marlene said with pride, “I made it myself.” “This is my own unique recipe. Peanut butter with mayonnaise!”

Since then, Marlene stopped by every day on her way home to bring Brad a sandwich and talk with her friend. She just couldn’t think of what her day would be like without Brad.

But one day, when she got to the corner, he was nowhere to be found! She ran to a nearby café and asked the waiter, “Did you see my friend Brad?”

“You mean the homeless guy who sits on that corner?” asked the waiter.

“Yes,” Marlene said. “Yes, Brad.”

The waiter asked, “Are you Marlene?” “He left a letter for you.”

He gave Marlene a piece of paper with folds in it. When Marlene opened it, it said, “Dear Marlene, Sorry, but I had to leave to fix my broken heart. I promise that I’ll come back soon. Brad, your friend.”

Marlene was sad and lonely once more. She cried every time she walked by Brad’s corner, which was almost every day.

The foster mother of Marlene told her, “Stop crying! You’ll get rid of the blue right away. Why do you cry so much, anyway?”

Marlene said, “My only friend is gone.” “I don’t think I’ll see him ever again. My parents said they would return, but they never did. I also don’t think Brad will return.”

But Marlene was wrong because Brad came back 18 months after she left. Marlene saw a big, fancy car parked outside the door of her foster parents’ house. When she went inside, she met Brad.

He had a different look. His face was smooth, his hair was cut, and he was wearing very nice clothes. But even though he looked different, Marlene still recognized him right away because he still had the same kind, sad eyes.

“Brad!” She sobbed and ran to give him a hug. “Why did you go away?”

Brad said, “You know.” “I was a happy man a few years ago. People liked the paintings I made, and my wife and I were going to have a child.

“But when it was time for our baby to come into the world, something very bad happened. My wife and baby both died, and I think that a part of me also died. I could no longer paint.

“So I gave up on life and myself until I met you, Marlene. When you gave me those peanut butter and mayo sandwiches, you did more than just feed my body. You also fed my soul.

“I thought I’d also give you something. So I went to a friend who owns an art gallery and begged for work so I could buy canvases and paints and start painting again.

“My friend was very happy when he saw my new work. He said that my paintings were even better than before, and he put them in his gallery. And what do you know? People began to buy them.

“Then I went on stage…

Well, to make a long story short, I got a place to live and some clothes, and then I went to Child Services. I was able to become a foster parent.

“Marlene, I’d like to know if you want to be my little girl. If you do, they say I can adopt you in a year and make us a family!”

Brad became worried when Marlene started crying so hard. She sobbed, “My mom and dad said they’d come back, but they didn’t.” “You said you’d come back, and you really did!”

Brad gave Marlene a big hug and told her, “Marlene, I promise I’ll never leave you again. We’re becoming a family!”