A grandson mocks and neglects his grandmother for sending him an “ugly” sweater for Christmas. Little does the boy know it’ll end up saving his life one day.
“Mom! Mom!” 11-year-old Mark cried to his mother, Cindy. “It’s the same sweater, mom! I don’t want to wear it!”
“Please, honey, put it on! We’re already running late!” Cindy stated as she frantically packed their suitcases and checked for any last-minute items.
“But mom! It’s not even my size. Can I please get something else to wear?”
“Don’t trouble your mom, Mark,” his father, Luke, intervened. “We have to leave now. Is everything done, honey?” he asked Cindy.
Mark neglected and mocked his grandmother | Photo: Shutterstock
“Yes, honey. It’s all done. Let’s leave.”
Cindy and Mark took out their suitcases and loaded them into the car. Mark sat in the back seat, frowning, because he had to wear something he didn’t want to, also because it was THAT sweater, the sweater Mark hated!
It was Christmas morning. Mark leaped out of bed before the sun came up and dashed down the stairs. “Mom! Dad!” he cried. “Wake up! It’s Christmas!”
A lovely Christmas tree stood in the corner of their living room, but the major attraction for Mark was the huge pile of gifts that stood beneath it.
Mark ran to the Christmas tree and stopped dead. Sifting among the packages, he chose the first. It was for his mom. The second was for his dad.
Mark dashed to the Christmas tree to open the presents | Photo: Pexels
Mark quickly sorted through all the Christmas gifts and discovered two huge parcels addressed to him. He opened the first one quickly and found a Nike backpack inside. His lips tilted in a smile, and he went for the next one. It was an RC car this time, and Mark couldn’t contain his happiness.
Suddenly, after sorting through the gifts, he noticed a parcel behind the Christmas tree in a corner. “To lovely Mark from Grandma Sandy,” the note on it read. “It must be the video game Grandma had promised! I knew Grandma would send it to me!” The boy thought as he quickly unwrapped the parcel.
However, as he looked inside, his face frowned. It was a red woolen sweater, a bit too big for him, and its sleeves were not even the same size.
Mark not only disliked the gift, he hated it. “UGLY! UGLY THING!” he muttered to himself and tossed it into the corner.
Mark hated the sweater his grandmother gifted him | Photo: Pexels
Suddenly, his mom and dad emerged from their room. “Looks like someone was a little too eager for Christmas this year,” Cindy chuckled, staring at Mark, who was surrounded by ripped gift covers.
“Wait a minute, is that an RC car? That’s my present!” Luke teased Mark, and the boy giggled. “No, dad! That’s my gift! But you can have this one!” he said, handing him the sweater his grandmother had sent him. “I don’t like this gift, dad! Why did Grandma send me such an ugly sweater?”
“Honey, you shouldn’t say that!” Cindy explained. “Do you know…”
Suddenly, Cindy’s cell phone rang. It was Sandy, and she told Cindy she wanted to speak to Mark. “Honey, Grandma Sandy would like to speak with you. Please be nice to her!” she whispered to Mark and handed him the phone.
In the meantime, Luke went to check the mail, and Cindy walked to the kitchen.
“Hi, Grandma Sandy,” Mark said dejectedly. “Merry Christmas.”
“Wishing you a Merry Christmas as well, honey!” Sandy answered, ecstatic. “Did you open my present?”
Sandy phoned Mark to ask about the sweater | Photo: Pexels
“Umm…yes, Grandma,” Mark replied, hoping his grandma would end the phone soon and not inquire further about the sweater. But she did, and Mark’s comments left her devastated.
“Have you tried it on, honey? I chose red because I thought it would look lovely on you.”
“Really, Grandma?” Mark snapped. “Kevin’s grandmother gave him an iPhone last year, and you sent me an UGLY sweater. I hate it, and I will never wear it. NEVER!”
“But honey…” Before Sandy could say anything, Mark hung up the phone and went to his room with the gifts he preferred, leaving Sandy’s sweater in the living room. The poor granny was devastated and cried at her grandson’s hurtful comments. She contacted him again the next day and the next, but Mark ignored her calls and never bothered to respond to her.
Unknown to Mark, Cindy kept the sweater. She knew its value, though at 11 years old, Mark did not. She knew Sandy’s health was not good.
Sandy was hurt by Mark’s words | Photo: Pexels
Sandy had knitted the sweater for Mark by hand. It was red, and each pattern on it looked like a snowflake. She was legally blind, and her knees had given out in old age, rendering her unable to walk and confining her to a wheelchair. She had created the sweater by love rather than sight, but Mark had rejected it.
This was the second Christmas that Mark’s parents were unable to travel all the way to Philadelphia to meet her for the holidays, so she decided to send a gift for her grandson because she was missing him terribly. But then there was Mark, who threw the present away, calling it “ugly.”
Cindy and Luke had planned a ski excursion to the mountains before Mark’s Christmas vacation ended and they returned to their regular schedules.
Because it was snowing heavily that day, Luke drove slowly, and by the time they arrived at their resort, it was late in the evening.
Mark, who was quite enthusiastic about going skiing for the first time, was disappointed that they couldn’t go on the same day and had to postpone their plans. He persuaded his parents to let him at least go look around, and they consented, although Cindy urged him not to go too far because it was dark and snowing.
Mark and his parents reached the resort by evening | Photo: Pexels
Mark nodded and raced off to a nearby spot. Meanwhile, Cindy kept an eye on him, and he appeared to be in close proximity. Luke soon removed their stuff from the car to proceed to the resort to check-in. Cindy had begun assisting him with the suitcases when she noticed Mark was nowhere to be seen.
“Mark, come back now!” she screamed at the top of her lungs, but no replies came.
Worried, she went to the place where Mark had been playing and discovered he wasn’t there. She glanced about the area and asked a few passers-by whether they’d seen a child, but no one knew anything.
Cindy nearly burst out crying and dashed to Luke. “Mark isn’t here, honey! I asked everyone, but no one has seen him!”
Luke and Cindy returned to the location, but Mark could not be found. Finally, they called the cops and alerted the resort manager of the situation. He sent out a few staff members armed with torchlights to look for Mark. Soon after, the police arrived and joined them.
Almost half an hour later, as one of the officers’ patrols descended, they observed a hand protruding behind a tree. They hurried to the area and discovered Mark, who was unconscious.
Cops soon arrived on the scene | Photo: Pexels
They shouted to Luke and Cindy as they dashed to the resort with the boy. Mark was brought to the hospital, but he didn’t wake up until a few hours later.
“It’s a good thing the boy was wearing a large sweater that kept the majority of his body covered and warm due to its enormous size. It was a typical case of hypothermia,” the doctor remarked. “However, we’ll have to keep him in the hospital under surveillance for a while. Do you recall anything that happened, Mark?” the doctor asked him.
The little boy nodded his head and then told them the whole story. It turned out he was playing when he slipped on the snow and fell, injuring his head. He tried getting up, but he couldn’t see anything clearly and fainted before he could call anyone for help.
Thanks to the cops, they found him before it was too late. The whole area was covered with thick snow by then, and Mark was buried under it, unconscious for almost 30 minutes! It was snowing heavily and getting darker, so it took them time to find the little boy.
However, now that Mark was conscious and realized it was all due to his grandma that he was saved, he couldn’t stop thanking her. He realized he shouldn’t have mocked the sweater and called Grandma Sandy to thank her for the gift. “I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you, Grandma. I remember you had asked me about the gift. It’s the best gift I’ve ever got,” Mark said.
Relief washed over Sandy’s face, and tears welled up in her eyes when Mark complimented her. “Did you put it on today, honey? I was concerned you didn’t like it.”
The sweater proudly hangs in Mark’s closet even now | Photo: Pexels
“Yes, Grandma. I wore the sweater today, and I love it.”
“Oh, honey, I’m relieved. I’ll bring you your favorite video game the next time we meet. It’s Grandma’s promise!”
“It’s all right, Grandma. I liked this gift more than the video game. Thank you for the gift! I love you!”
“I love you too, honey!” Sandy said and hung up the phone.
Mark’s comments about the sweater that day brightened Sandy’s mood. Her warm smile eventually gave way to laughter as she realized what a silly old woman she was to wonder if Mark would like the sweater.
20 years have passed since that fateful day. Mark has no recollection of Christmas presents he received when he was 11, not even his favorite Nike backpack and RC car. The sweater still proudly hangs in his closet. Though it’s a bit snug, Mark brings it out every Christmas to remember the time it saved his life and to remember his beautiful, sweet Grandma Sandy.
What can we learn from this story?
- Respect and love your grandparents and elders. As they age, our grandparents require affection and care since they often seek delight in our happiness, so never mistreat them. Mark realized it the hard way.
- Gifts can be large or small, but those from the heart are the most meaningful. For Mark, the sweater was an ugly gift, but he realized later that it was the most valuable and priceless gift because it held sentimental significance and even saved his life.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who buys a strange Christmas ball at a flea market and discovers a note inside it with an address.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.