Old Veteran Peddles All His Medals to Buy Food, Little Boy Sees It and Approaches Him — Story of the Day

A little boy overwhelms an old veteran by his act of kindness when he gets to know that the older man goes around the whole village selling his medals in exchange for food.

Tom was just 4 when his parents died in a car accident. After that, his grandmother Donna raised the boy alone. They lived in a small village on the outskirts of town, where life was far less complicated than in the cities.

One day, Tom was sitting in the village market with a basket of potatoes in his hands. It was mid-August, and Donna had planted a lot of potatoes on her small farm during this time of year–which Tom was supposed to market and sell. Donna was 90 years old, and as she got older, she couldn’t spend long periods in the market, which is why Tom had agreed to do it for her.

Tom approached an old veteran who was peddling all his medals to buy food | Photo: Shutterstock

As he sat in the market that day, all kinds of people passed by him, but one of them, in particular, piqued his curiosity. He wasn’t well-groomed, but he didn’t seem like a homeless person either. His clothes were old but clean, and his hair was somewhat like a crew cut.  

Tom had noticed that he frequently came to his stall, examined his potatoes, and then left empty-handed. Why does he come here and leave without purchasing any potatoes? Is it possible that Grandma set the rates a little too high this time?

The youngster was always curious. So when the elderly gentleman arrived, Tom would dive into his phone and watch him out of the corner of his eye until he walked away.

One day, Tom noticed the older man passing from one vendor to the next, waving a dirty rag around. For some reason, he didn’t come up to Tom’s stall that day but just passed by it. Curious as to why he did that, Tom asked a seller at the neighboring counter to look after his stall for a couple of minutes and decided to follow the older man.

The man came to a halt by an old, broken-down cottage not far from the market and went inside. Tom peeped into his house through the window and saw him taking several old, dusty medals from the old burlap bag. “Wow! Are those medals yours?” he exclaimed, running inside and taking the medals in his hand. “You have so many of them!”

Tom saw the man had a lot of medals | Photo: Pexels

“Of course, they’re mine,” the man retorted, snatching it from Tom’s grasp. “But who gave you permission to touch these? Get out of here!”

“I just came here to ask why you didn’t come to my stall today. Is it because you believe my Grandma raised the rates too much this year?” Tom inquired innocently.

“Look, boy, I’m not interested in buying those potatoes! I need firewood for the winter, so I go around the village looking for someone who will buy these medals and give me money in exchange,” he lied.

“Oh, so you don’t have money!” Tom wondered loudly. “Just wait here. I’ll be right back.” 

Tom ran to his stall, quickly packed a bag of potatoes, and returned to the man’s house. “If you don’t have money, you can’t buy food. Keep these with you. You look weak. Grandma’s potatoes are the best.”

“Listen, boy, I’m not interested in these potatoes, okay?” He cast a stern glance at Tom. “I hate begging. Do you see these medals?! I fought for them and shed my blood to be honored with them. So take those potatoes with you and GET LOST!”

“But…” Before Tom could say anything, the older man pushed him out of his house and slammed the door. Tom went back to his stall, dejected, but he could see the older man was very sad and tired. He should have taken these. He looked like he hadn’t eaten in days. The boy wondered as he unpacked the bag and sat at his stall, waiting for the next customer.

Tom offered a bag of potatoes to the older man | Photo: Unsplash

For that whole week, Tom saw the older man walking around the market every day, trying to sell his medals. He looked more miserable with each passing day, and his skin became paler and more lifeless. Even a stranger could tell he was sick by his outward appearance. Should I try asking him again if he wants something to eat? Anyway, Grandma won’t know if a few bags of potatoes go missing.  

Tom quickly packed a bag of potatoes for him and silently followed him when he heard the man conversing with a vendor. “Can you please take these medals and give me some money. I haven’t eaten in days,” he begged. 

“Sorry, but that’s not possible,” the vendor replied, shooing him away. “Get away and don’t come here again!”

So he lied to me! He was indeed selling them for food! The boy thought, silently staring at the man from afar. 

“Why did you lie to me that you’re selling them for firewood?” Tom asked as he approached him. “Why didn’t you let me help you?”

Tom helped the old veteran | Photo: Pexels

The man’s eyes welled up with tears. “I’m sorry, child, but I was too embarrassed to ask for your help. Could you please share some of your potatoes with me? But I’m not going to take it for free. Would you be willing to give it to me in exchange for the medals?”

“Sure,” Tom said and handed him the bag of potatoes. “This should last you at least a week.”

The man burst out crying at Tom’s generosity. “Thank you so much, boy! I don’t know how to thank you! What’s your name?”

“My name is Thomas, but you can call me Tom,” the boy replied, smiling.

“Thank you once again, Tom. I’m Conner Davidson. Your grandmother is indeed blessed to have a grandson like you!”

“Please take care of yourself. I’ll see you around,” Tom said and walked away happily. However, as he strolled through the streets, he was worried about what’ll happen if his grandmother found out that he’d given the potatoes in exchange for the medals.

Tom was scared when he returned home and Donna asked him for money | Photo: Pexels

“So, Tom, where’s the money you made from selling the potatoes today?” Donna asked him when he reached home.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t sell any, Grandma,” he lied, hiding the medals behind him. “I think we should reduce the price.”

“Oh, should we?” Donna raised her brow. “Then what are you hiding behind?” She pulled Tom’s hand and discovered the bag of medals. “Did you give up the potatoes for this, Tom? Don’t lie to me!”

“Sorry, Grandma,” Tom admitted. “I didn’t want to, but someone really needed them!”

“What?!” Donna was furious. “How many times have I told you not to get fooled by strangers, Tom? You’re not supposed to give them potatoes like that if they don’t give you money.”

“No, Grandma, I didn’t,” Tom said, narrating how Conner hadn’t eaten in days and was wandering the streets selling medals.

Suddenly, Donna hugged him and kissed him on the forehead. “Did you really do that, Tom? I’m so proud of you. But why didn’t you tell me?”

“I was scared you would scold me, Grandma. I think I should have told you before.”

Donna’s potatoes and Tom’s generosity helped a veteran | Photo: Unsplash

“That’s fine, honey, but it must have been difficult for the man to give up these medals; we shouldn’t take them away in such a way.”

“What do you mean, Grandma?”

That evening, Donna and Tom went to a jeweler and got the medals cleaned and arranged in order. The next day, they visited Conner and returned it to them. “These are a reward for your bravery; never sell them!” Donna told him.

Conner’s eyes welled up at Donna’s kindness. He thanked her for her generosity, and since that day, he has sat at their stall instead of Tom to assist her in selling the potatoes. Months later, he secretly sold those medals and used the proceeds to send Tom to the city to study. Donna was hesitant to send Tom so far, but Conner convinced her.

Today, Tom works as a software engineer in a top tech firm in New York City, thanks to Conner’s efforts.

Tom works as a software engineer in New York | Photo: Unsplash

What can we learn from this story?

  • Never refrain from helping someone in need. Conner shooed away Tom when the boy first went to help him, but the little boy didn’t give up. He could see Conner was in trouble, and he helped him.
  • Kindness begets kindness. Tom helped Conner when he was in need, and the man returned the little boy’s generosity by saving up for his education. 

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a rich man who is startled to meet a girl who looks exactly like him, pleading with him to save her mother.

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 info@amomama.com.

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