After Son’s Death, Poor Mom Sells His Unworn Boots to Help Homeless Woman and Her Child — Story of the Day

A mother sells her late son’s unworn boots to provide dinner for a homeless woman and her child. A few days later, she is unexpectedly rewarded for her generosity.

“I’m sorry to say this, Mrs. Gilmour, but Adam doesn’t have much time,” Dr. Smith told Emily on the phone. “We need to perform the surgery soon; otherwise, we fear that we won’t be able to save him.”

Emily’s heart sank at the terrible news. It was just a few years ago when her husband Edward had died in a car accident, and Adam was diagnosed with a heart ailment. 

Emily helped a homeless boy and his mother | Photo: Shutterstock

Emily and her husband ran a small tailoring shop in Austin, Texas, and even though the income wasn’t high, they managed to make ends meet. However, after Edward died, there was one less helping hand at the shop, fewer clients, and thus, a lower monthly income.

Furthermore, Emily received a call from Adam’s school one day, informing her that he had been rushed to the hospital after fainting unexpectedly during class. She had rushed to the hospital, terrified, only to learn that her son had a heart condition that required immediate surgery.

As Emily sat by Adam’s bedside that day, she couldn’t stop crying. The hospital bills were already too much for her to pay, then paying for surgery seemed out of the question. She asked her friends and neighbors for help and even checked with the bank to see if the insurance money would cover the bill, but nothing worked.

The doctors said the surgery would have to be performed at a private hospital in Germany, and Emily knew she couldn’t afford it. Still, she didn’t give up hope that her son would be fine.

On her way to the hospital to visit Adam one day, she saw a nice pair of boots at a store. She bought it for him with the money she’d made by working part-time on weekends, thinking Adam would love them.

Adam was diagnosed with a heart ailment | Photo: Pexels

As she’d expected, Adam was indeed overjoyed to receive them, and he was jumping around the hospital room in them and showing them to the doctors and nurses who came to visit him. Emily’s eyes welled up with tears as she witnessed her son’s happiness that day.

Oh, dear! Just look at how happy he looks! I wonder why God was so cruel to punish my little child. Please save him, God! Please! she prayed, hiding her tears from Adam and putting up a smile on her face. But unfortunately, a month later, her worst fears turned out true, and Adam left for his heavenly abode.

Emily was devastated, to say the least. She completely shunned herself from the world, didn’t talk to anyone, and stopped going to work. Her friends were very supportive and tried to console and comfort her, but none of it worked. It seemed like she had locked herself in a bubble, and she wasn’t ready to step out of it. 

Almost a month passed like that. She never got over her son’s death, blaming herself for being a bad mother and failing to save him. Every day, she visited her son’s grave, returned, and then locked herself in the house.

Emily visited her son’s grave everyday | Photo: Pexels

However, one day, on her way back from visiting her son, she noticed a homeless woman and her child sitting on a street corner, begging for alms. They were dressed shabbily, and the woman was constantly hounding passers-by for food and money to feed her hungry child. None of them bothered to listen to her, and those who did simply shooed her away.

Feeling terrible for the woman’s condition, Emily decided to approach her. “Hey, would you like to join me for a quick lunch? I won’t be able to take you to a nice restaurant, but I can buy you some food.”

“Oh, that’d be so kind of you!” the woman responded in a trembling voice. “Thank you so much! My son and I haven’t eaten in days. He’s been crying for almost two hours now because of hunger.”

“You don’t have to thank me. I understand because I’m a mother,” Emily stated. “There’s a nearby cafe that serves delicious cheese sandwiches. Do you enjoy sandwiches, honey?” she inquired to the little boy who was hiding behind her mother, wiping his tears and staring at her silently. However, just then, Emily realized she was out of money.

Emily bought sandwiches for the little boy | Photo: Pexels

For the last month, Emily had not gone shopping even once because there was hardly any money at home. Then two days ago, she ran out of groceries and hadn’t eaten anything herself. But now that she’d promised to help the woman, it would be terrible to refuse her. She looked weak, and her child wouldn’t stop crying from hunger.

Ok, Emily, you don’t have a choice now! There’s only one way to help them, and you’ll have to do it. Her mind wandered to the boots she’d bought for Adam a month ago. They were brand new, and Adam had just tried it once for a few minutes. She reasoned that if she sold them, she would be able to help a starving child and a helpless woman in need and that this was preferable to keeping them as a memorial to her late son.

So Emily asked the woman to wait for a moment and promised to return soon. She dashed home to collect the shoes from Adam’s closet and returned to the store where she’d purchased them.

The store manager was hesitant to take them back and give her money in exchange, but Emily persisted, and he eventually caved. Emily went straight to the street where she’d seen the homeless woman with her son after collecting the money.

Emily sold Adam’s shoes to help the woman and her son | Photo: Pexels

It was getting dark, and collecting money took her some time, but luckily, the woman and her child were still there when Emily arrived. “Oh, you arrived! I assumed you wouldn’t show up. We were about to leave,” the woman explained.

“I’m sorry I kept you waiting,” Emily apologized. “Anyway, let’s get you some sandwiches! Shall we go, little boy?” she asked the child who nodded his tiny head in excitement and gave her a huge smile.

As Emily and the woman and her child took a seat in the cafe, she ordered sandwiches, cookies, and milk for the boy and tea and sandwiches for herself and the other woman. Emily couldn’t take her eyes off them as they ate. Oh, Lord! These poor souls really hadn’t eaten in days. It’s good I brought them here.

“If you don’t mind, could you tell me how you and your son ended up on the streets?” Emily inquired.

“Well, let’s just say it’s a long story…”  the woman said and narrated her tragic past.

Addison was a journalist who was fired from her job after she turned down her boss’s marriage proposal | Photo: Pexels

It turned out the woman, Addison, was once a journalist in a reputed agency but was fired from her job when she refused to accept her boss’s proposal to marry her. Her boss was a total jerk who hit on every woman in his office.

“I didn’t like him,” Addison admitted. “My husband died only a few months ago, and he was the only man I ever loved and will ever love until the day I die. Sadly, after I lost the job, nobody was ready to hire me. I wandered the streets for a while before joining a local newspaper agency. But my boss turned out to have connections there, and that was really the end of my career. Plus, after my savings ran out, I failed to pay the mortgage and was kicked out of my house too.” 

“Oh! I can imagine how terrible it must have felt. I lost both my husband and my son this year. We have a small shop, but I haven’t been there in a month because I was devastated after my son’s death. To be precise, things aren’t going so well for me, both financially and emotionally.”

“Oh, dear! I’m sorry for your loss,” Addison said as she wiped away her tears. “And thank you for helping me. You’re a really kind soul. I hope I’ll be able to repay your generosity sometime in the future.”

“It’s fine. I’m glad I was able to assist a hungry child and his mother. I hope things improve for you soon,” Emily said before settling the bill and parting ways.

Emily took Addison and her son to a cafe | Photo: Pexels

One week later, Emily was cleaning her house when the doorbell rang. She answered and found a postman standing there. A letter for me? Who could have sent it? Emily paused as she took the letter then went inside.

However, when she turned it over in her hands, she immediately recognized the sender’s name. It was a letter from Addison, but her return address was in Florida. Emily excitedly opened the envelope, and as she began reading the letter, her eyes welled up.

“Dear Emily,” it began. “Thanks for helping me when nobody did. All thanks to you, I’m in a much better position now. After you left the cafe that day, I met my childhood friend Mark, who came to Texas for a project. It turned out he’s a journalist just like me. When he learned how unfairly I was terminated from my job, he wrote a powerful article that helped me reclaim my job.

“I’m currently in Florida working on a project. I also started a GoFundMe page for you with Mark’s assistance, and we were able to raise $1 million in two days! The check can be found in the envelope. I hope this money will help you live a better life in the future.

“Also, if you’re wondering how I obtained your address, keep in mind that I’m a journalist, and it’s not a difficult job for us! I’ll see you as soon as I return to Texas. My son Max misses you as well. With love, Addison.”

Emily wiped her tears and dashed into her bedroom, grabbing a piece of paper from a drawer. “Thank you so much, Addison and Mark…” she scribbled on the sheet. She thanked them for their assistance and invited them to her home the next time they visited Texas.

Emily wrote a letter to Mark and Addison | Photo: Pexels

What can we learn from this story?

  • Some accidental encounters are beautiful. Emily happened to notice Addison one day as she was returning from her son’s grave–which led to them helping each other and developing a beautiful friendship.
  • Learn to be kind; it costs nothing. Emily helped Addison and her son without expecting anything in return. All of us should try to be like her.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about parents who kicked their pregnant daughter out in the cold and approached her for help years later.

This account is inspired by our reader’s story 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

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