Amidst his typical afternoon routine of watching his favorite TV show, Aidan finds himself at home instead of the park with friends due to the sweltering heat. His neighbor, Mrs. Murphy, who often cares for him and his siblings, Maya and Harry, while their mother, Helen, is away, kindly offers him a refreshing glass of lemonade upon his return from school. As Aidan enjoys his drink and entertainment, the sound of the front door opening interrupts his moment of relaxation.

Helen returns home earlier than expected, her arrival prompting no inquiry into Aidan’s day at school nor any acknowledgment of his presence on the sofa. Instead, she heads straight to her room, locking the door behind her.

In the kitchen, Mrs. Murphy takes note of Helen’s early return. Concerned, she wonders aloud, “She’s back early today. Is everything alright?” Knocking gently on Helen’s door, she offers her assistance before preparing to depart. “Since you’re home, Helen, I’ll be heading off. Just let me know if you need anything. Are you feeling alright?”

After a brief moment, Helen opened the door slightly, revealing red and puffy eyes to Mrs. Murphy. “I’m sorry, I just need some time alone. Thank you for your help. You can go home now,” she murmured.

“No problem at all,” Mrs. Murphy responded with a comforting smile. “I’ll always be here if you need anything, alright? Take care.”

Helen nodded faintly and retreated back to her bed, burying her face in her hands as tears welled up in her eyes.

Meanwhile, Aidan, engrossed in his show, suddenly noticed his mother’s distress once Mrs. Murphy left. Rushing to her room, he gently approached her. “Mum? Are you okay? Please don’t cry,” he pleaded, wrapping his arms around her in a comforting embrace.

“I’m so sorry, Aidan,” Helen whispered, her voice choked with emotion. “I feel like I’m failing as a mother. Like I’m a terrible, horrible mum.”

“No, Mum, you’re not!” Aidan objected firmly. “You’re the best mum ever! Why would you say that?”

“Because nice,” she chuckled sadly. “I’ve been fired. I don’t have a job anymore. I don’t know how I’m going to pay the bills. I have to make breakfast early in the morning, drop you off at the bus stop, take care of groceries, and more, and that’s why I’m late for work. They didn’t hesitate to fire me for that! During all this time, I was exhausted and stressed, but I didn’t give up. Nobody cared why I was late! It will be some time before I find another job, sorry….”

“Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be all right. You’ll be all right,” Aidan promised, embracing her tightly.

The next day, after school, Aidan didn’t head home. Instead, he made his way to his mother’s office to speak to her boss. Armed with the office address found on a business card, he hurried through the main door, only to be stopped by two security guards at the entrance.

“Where do you think you’re going, kid?” one of the guards asked, blocking Aidan’s path.

“It’s an emergency. I need to speak to my mother’s superior,” he replied urgently.

“Children aren’t allowed in here. Is your mother in the office? I can call her-” the guard began.

“No, you can’t!” Aidan interjected, his frustration evident. “That’s why I need to talk to her boss. Please, let me in.”

Just then, the company CEO, Mr. Mitchell, arrived in his car and stepped out, perplexed by the scene unfolding before him. “What’s going on here?” he inquired, puzzled by the commotion.

The guards exchanged uncertain glances, ready to escort Aidan away, when a voice interrupted, “What’s happening? Who is this young boy?”

The guards briefed Mr. Mitchell on the situation, and he listened attentively, nodding thoughtfully as he absorbed the details. Then, turning his focus to Aidan, he introduced himself, “Hello, I am the owner of this business. My name is Andrew Mitchell. Would you like to talk in my office? We can’t have this kind of discussion outside,” he offered.

“Yes, please,” Aiden replied eagerly. “And I’m in a hurry, so we’d better be quick.”

Mr. Mitchell smiled gently, adjusting his glasses. “Of course. After you, young man…”

Once settled in his office, Mr. Mitchell instructed his secretary to fetch Aiden something to drink from the cafeteria, but Aiden declined. “Mom says it’s not nice to take things from strangers, so that’s okay. Can we have a quick talk about why I’m here? Mom’s waiting for me at home.”

“Absolutely,” Mr. Mitchell agreed. “So, what did you want to talk about?”

“My name is Aiden, and my mother’s name is Helen,” Aiden began earnestly. “She got fired from her job yesterday, even though she didn’t do anything wrong. She was just late for work. I know, I know, it’s wrong, but even I’m late for school sometimes! You can’t be so hard on her!

“My mom is a very hard worker, and she has a lot to do every day. I have two younger siblings, and she takes care of all of our needs, even though she is very busy. She was very upset when she was laid off. Could you please give her a job again? She says she can’t pay our bills without it. You see, this is a serious thing!”

Mr. Mitchell listened attentively to Aiden’s plea, his smile hidden from the boy’s earnestness. “Is that the issue, Aiden? Does your mom need to return to work?” he inquired gently.

Aiden nodded earnestly. “Yes. I apologize if my words seem biased. I understand the importance of punctuality, both at work and school. But please, forgive her. I’ll help my mom around the house to ensure she’s never late again. I promise.”

Mr. Mitchell nodded, his expression thoughtful. “Alright, I’ll take care of it. I suggest you head home. If you’d like, my driver can take you-”

“I’ll be fine, thank you,” Aiden interjected, already heading out the door.

Upon returning home, Aiden found Helen smiling as she spoke on the phone. Catching sight of him, she quickly ended the call and enveloped him in a hug.

“Mom, what’s going on?” Aiden began, but before he could finish, Helen’s embrace silenced him.

“I’m back at work, honey! And that’s not all. I’ve been promoted! We don’t have to worry anymore!” she exclaimed, her joy infectious as relief washed over them both.

Aiden smiled, silently thanking Mr. Mitchell in his heart as he witnessed his mother’s joy. “Congratulations, Mother,” he whispered affectionately to her.

The following day, upon Helen’s return to work, Mr. Mitchell paid her a visit, knocking politely on her office door. “May I come in?” he inquired.

“Certainly, sir,” she responded, rising from her seat to greet him.

“You’ve raised your son well, Helen,” Mr. Mitchell remarked warmly. “He’s a true gentleman, always ready to defend his mother. If I had known your situation, I never would have let you go. Do you know what your son did?”

“I… I don’t understand,” Helen replied, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment.

Mr. Mitchell proceeded to recount how Aiden had approached him the day before and persuasively advocated for his mother’s reinstatement. As the whole story unfolded, tears welled up in Helen’s eyes.

Unbeknownst to either of them, the real reason behind Mr. Mitchell’s decision to rehire Helen stemmed from his own childhood experiences. He understood Aiden’s plight all too well, having once stood in his shoes himself.