A rich girl humiliates and almost knocks down a poor old lady crossing the street too slowly, but later, she regrets her behavior bitterly.
Carla Walden was just 28 and she had the world at her feet. She was beautiful, brilliant, and rich. Carla was a partner at a prestigious New York investment company, and the future looked bright.
The one thing Carla didn’t have was a pleasant personality or good manners. She was harsh, demanding, and very rarely used the words ‘please’ or ‘thank you.’ As for ‘sorry,’ that was a word and a concept totally alien to her.
Carla felt superior to the common or garden variety human, and she wanted to make sure everyone knew it. When she walked into a shop, she was arrogant and difficult to please.
At the finest restaurants, she sent back the most delicious dishes with spurious complaints about the quality of the food or the way it was cooked. Experienced waiters cringed when she walked in, chefs shuddered, and Carla loved it all.
At the firm she worked at, she was even less popular. She was unpleasant to the employees and showed up her partners with her clever schemes. Carla never ever imagined her life could be any different until she tempted Karma.
Help and support come from the most unexpected places.
One Sunday afternoon, Carla was driving down to the country club where she intended to demolish her best friend at tennis. She was driving her convertible a little too fast because she liked to feel the wind in her hair.
What Carla didn’t count on was that there was an elderly woman on that street at a pedestrian crossing, and she had already taken a few steps forward. The car traveling in the opposite direction had stopped to let the woman through, but Carla didn’t care.
She sped up and passed within millimeters of the woman who staggered back with a frightened cry. “Get out of the road, you old hag!” screamed Carla, and saw in the rearview mirror that the woman had lost her balance and fell in the middle of the road.
“Serves her right!” said Carla. “What is a relic like that doing out on the street anyway?” Carla drove to the country club, and everything went as she’d planned — as it always did.
But Monday morning wasn’t at all what Carla had expected. As soon as she got in, her assistant, a sweet girl who was petrified of her told her the other partners had summoned her to an emergency meeting.
“Not another emergency meeting!” cried Carla, and grabbed her laptop. In the conference room, the other partners were sitting around the table, looking morose. “Good morning!” cried Carla cheerfully. “What’s the emergency?”
The senior partner raised his head and looked Carla in the eye. “We’re bankrupt. The hedge fund you recommended we invest in so heavily turned out to be a pyramid scheme. We’ve lost billions, billions!”
Carla felt the breath whoosh out of her lungs. “But…But that’s impossible! I checked and double-checked… There was every indication…I was absolutely sure…”
Another one of the partners said bitterly, “You were absolutely wrong and you sunk us all!”
Carla got up on trembling legs and went back to her office. She started going through the numbers and saw that her partners were right. All the money they had invested on their own behalf and on their clients’ was gone, vanished into thin air. “My house!” whispered Carla. “I’ll have to sell my house!”
Two weeks later, Carla was sitting on her suitcase on the curb, wondering what she was going to do next. She had phoned several friends, asking for help, or for just a bed to sleep in for one night, but now that she was poor, no one wanted to know her.
Even her best friend had turned her down. “Poor Carla!” she’d cried. “I’m so sorry, but I have some friends who invested with you coming over, and it just wouldn’t be very appropriate, you understand…”
Carla had understood. She sat on that curb and felt hot tears burning her eyes. “I have nothing and no one,” she whispered to herself. “I’m all alone.”
“Honey,” a gentle voice said, “we are never alone. No matter how dark things seem, God is always watching out for us!”
Carla raised her head and saw an elderly lady standing in front of her with a sympathetic smile. “I know right now it feels like the end of the world. But believe me, there is hope!”
“I…I know you…” whispered Carla. “I nearly ran you over…”
The woman smiled and shook her head. “That’s in the past, isn’t it? What we need to think about now is your future!”
Carla laughed bitterly. “My future? I have exactly $250 to my name, no home, no car, no family, no friends, and nowhere to lay my head!”
“Well,” the old lady said. “There are two things I can help you with there: I’m a friend, and you can sleep at my house tonight!”
“Your friend?” asked Carla. “But I hurt you…I insulted you…”
“Oh my dear,” said the old lady, patting Carla’s hand tenderly. “All that anger came from your loneliness. And of course, you are my friend, you are my sister. I’ve walked the same difficult path as you.”
That night Carla stayed at the old lady’s home and the two women talked late into the night. The next day the elderly woman asked Carla to stay as long as she liked, and Carla accepted gratefully.
Within a few days, she found herself a job as a teller in an appliance store, and when the manager found out how good Carla was with numbers, he promoted her. Slowly Carla started rebuilding her life.
Six years later, Carla was back on top of the world, but she was now a very different woman. She knew the bitter taste of defeat and it had taught her compassion, consideration, and empathy.
The elderly lady she had once nearly run over was now Carla’s best friend, her second mother, and she was eternally grateful for her kindness.
What can we learn from this story?
- What we give is what we get. Carla’s unpleasant, arrogant attitude gained her no kindness or help from people once she was bankrupt.
- Help and support can come from the most unexpected places. The person Carla least expected to rescue her offered her a home and understanding.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a rich man who pretends to be poor to teach his future in-laws a lesson.
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