When Anthony moved into a new apartment, he discovered a picture of an old lady left behind. Although he never met the previous tenants, this person was familiar. He had kicked her out of his bus route during a horribly cold night almost a year earlier. Now, Anthony felt so guilty looking at her portrait and decided to find her, praying that it wasn’t too late.
Anthony finished carrying his boxes into a new apartment and looked around the area, thinking he couldn’t have picked something better. He was finally happy.
The past year had been one of the toughest of his life after getting fired from his job right before Christmas. But he had a few savings that kept him afloat until a different job opportunity appeared months later.
Unfortunately, that’s when his landlord decided to sell his apartment, and since Anthony’s lease was almost up, he had to find a new home fast. Luckily, this place became available and he jumped at the chance to rent it.
Anthony treated an old woman horribly during a snowy night. | Source: Shutterstock
Now, it was time to unpack all his belongings and clean up. Oh, what’s that? Anthony asked himself while sweeping when he stepped on something unexpected on the floor. It was a picture frame. The old tenants must have left it behind by accident. He leaned down and grabbed it while still holding the broom with his other hand.
After turning the frame around, Anthony’s jaw dropped. The picture showed an old woman sitting on a rocking chair and smiling at the camera. But the surprising part is that he recognized her.
A year ago, when he still had his old job, he was finishing his bus route as an older lady walked up the three stairs. That particular December night in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was getting harsh. Snow was pouring, and Anthony wanted to get home quickly. Additionally, he had recently heard some rumors about budget cuts, and apparently, some people were about to get fired.
During Christmas, no less.
He was pulled out of his negative musings when the woman’s bus card kept getting rejected. “Sir, I’m sorry. I left my wallet at home. Can you still let me in, and I’ll pay you back soon?” she asked.
“Lady, I can’t do that. Don’t you have some cash?”
The woman pleaded with him, but Anthony wouldn’t budge. | Source: Pexels
“No, sir. Please, can you do me this favor? I’ll leave you my phone number and give you the money later. Please, it’s so cold,” the woman begged.
“I’m sorry, lady. My bosses strictly prohibit that. Please exit,” Anthony said finally. The woman tried to plead her case again, but Anthony lost his temper. “GET OUT RIGHT NOW!”
She almost cried but turned around and exited the bus.
The following day, Anthony woke up full of guilt. The morning news said there was a massive snowstorm that night, and he wondered if the woman got home safely. However, he forgot all about her quickly after receiving a phone call from his supervisor. They fired him, and he couldn’t do anything about it.
He spent several months working part-time at different places until he got a permanent position elsewhere. It was an even better paying job, so everything worked out for him in the end.
Anthony couldn’t believe he had coincidentally rented the older woman’s previous apartment. | Source: Pexels
Staring at the old woman’s photograph, Anthony figured she was the previous renter of his apartment. He couldn’t believe the coincidence and the guilt that came back to him in full force, even though it was almost a year since the incident. His hands closed tighter around the frame as he wondered what happened to the woman.
“Please, God. Tell me she didn’t die that night because of me,” Anthony prayed to the skies as tears started running down his face. “Please. What can I do to make things better?”
Suddenly, he had an idea. He was going to call his landlord and ask about the previous occupant. That’s how he discovered the lady’s name, Helen Miller. According to the landlord, the person on the lease was actually Helen’s granddaughter, Agnes, and he had no idea why they moved or where they were.
However, Anthony begged him for her phone number, and he gave it to him reluctantly. It took him a while to muster the courage to dial the digits, but he needed to know what happened to Helen so he did.
“Hello?” a woman answered.
“Yes, hello. Is this Agnes?”
Anthony breathed in relief when he heard the woman’s voice on the phone. | Source: Pexels
“Hello, my name is Anthony Wilkinson. I was hoping I could speak to your grandmother, Helen. Is she with you?” Anthony wondered anxiously. He realized that his hands were sweating and wiped one of them on his jeans.
“Ah, yes. Give me a second.”
That’s when Anthony breathed a sigh of relief. Mrs. Miller was alive.
“Hello?” an older woman’s voice suddenly came on.
“Yes. Can I help you?” she asked.
“You might not remember me, ma’am. My name is Anthony. We met briefly around this time last year. I was a bus driver,” Anthony began and started pacing around his apartment.
“Oh. Is it really you?”
“You remember me? Yes, ma’am. It’s me. I’m the one who kicked you out in the cold,” he continued. “I’m so sorry. That was horrible of me. I was in the worst mood possible, and I was worried something may have happened to you.”
He apologized and asked if there was anything he could do for her. | Source: Pexels
“Well, I appreciate your apology, young man. But I don’t understand why you’re calling a year later. How did you get my granddaughter’s number?” Helen asked.
“I live in your old apartment, and you left a picture frame here. I remembered you immediately. I wanted you to know that I regretted my actions that day. But karma paid me back in full. I lost my job, and then, I lost my apartment,” Anthony explained. He had calmed down already and sat down on his couch.
“I wouldn’t wish ill on anyone, but I must admit that I was pretty angry at you that night. I had just visited my husband’s grave and needed to return home before an even bigger snowstorm fell. I had to walk home, and then, I fell ill for a long time,” Helen revealed.
“Oh no! I can’t believe I was such an idiot. How could I do that to someone?”
“Don’t worry. I’m fine now! But… it was pretty awful. I hope you never do that to someone ever again, alright?” the woman scolded.
“Never again, ma’am. And please, keep this number. If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to call me. I’ll jump at any chance to make it up to you.”
Anthony helped at the senior center that weekend and became a volunteer afterward. | Source: Pexels
“Hmmm… now that you mention it. The senior center needs someone this weekend to help move around some stuff. Would you like to volunteer?” Helen asked.
Anthony agreed to help and worked like a dog that weekend, helping wherever he could. Helen and Agnes came to greet him at one point. Afterward, he decided to volunteer at the center every month and talked to Helen often.
But most importantly, Anthony learned never to treat people the way he did that cold night, especially when they don’t deserve it.
What can we learn from this story?
- Others don’t have to pay for your bad mood. Anthony treated Helen horribly and left her in a dangerous situation because he was angry. He regretted it immediately.
- Make up for your mistakes, no matter how much has passed. Anthony managed to atone for his mistake a year later.
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