Ivy saw a homeless man, Kurt, waiting near the train station and invited him to lunch. After hearing his story, she offered to buy him a ticket back home. Years later, she cried outside a hospital when a man approached her and said everything would be alright. Ivy looked up and saw Kurt, and it made her smile.
“Let me buy you lunch and a warm cup of coffee. My friend’s train ride was delayed for five hours. I don’t want to go back home, and I hate eating alone,” Ivy told a homeless man she saw right outside the Cold Springs train station in New York. She had been waiting for her friend to arrive from Poughkeepsie, but the weather had delayed everything.
Ivy started walking around the station, not knowing what to do, when she spotted the man in tattered clothes sitting at a bench. She decided to offer him a meal, and it would distract her from the long wait. The man looked up at her in shock and nodded his head rapidly. He said that his name was Kurt and started walking.
“Let’s go to Bubby’s. It’s got great pancakes and burgers,” Ivy suggested with a smile and started walking. The man followed right beside her with his hands in his pockets to ward off the cold. They arrived at the diner, settled down, and ordered quickly. Ivy started some small talk, but then she asked Kurt about his life.
“It’s a long story,” Kurt began with a sigh. “But the short version is that I came to this town to find a better job. My parents didn’t want me to come here. We had a huge fight before I left. I yelled and told them I would never be back.”
“Well, we’ve all had that kind of fight with our parents. How old are you? You look my age now that I can see without a hat,” Ivy wondered, sipping a bit of her coffee that the waitress brought.
Kurt sipped from his cup too and continued. “I’m 25.”
“I’m 24. That’s great. We can talk comfortably,” she added, smiling brightly at the stranger.
“Wow, you’re nice. People normally ignore anyone in need on the streets, especially here in New York. It’s brutal,” Kurt stated, pursing his lips.
“That’s true. But most people are ice cold to everyone around them. Anyway, how did you end up homeless? You came here to work,” Ivy questioned, getting the conversation back on track.
“Ah, yes. I came here years ago to work, and I started, but my friend who offered me the job deceived me. He didn’t pay me and stole everything I had just bought for my apartment here, even my social security card. The fight with my parents was so big that I didn’t want to go back. Then I met other people who were even worse. I got into big trouble and lost everything,” Kurt explained with a shrug.
Their food had arrived, and both of them started eating. Kurt went through his burger quickly, like he hadn’t eaten in days, but Ivy was chewing more slowly. “But you could still go back to your parents,” Ivy suggested, cutting a piece of her pancake and putting the fork in her mouth.
“I can’t do it,” Kurt mumbled while chewing.
Ivy put her fork down and pursed her lips in thought. “I’ll make you a deal. I’ll buy you a ticket back home. Go! Make up with your parents because we all have to admit when we need help,” she advised.
“What do you get in return?” Kurt asked, frowning.
“I don’t know,” Ivy began, crossing her arms on the table. “I think it’s because Christmas is coming, I want to do my final good deed of the year. Go home, Kurt. Maybe, one day in the future, you’ll pay me back in some form.”
After eating, Kurt accepted her deal, and she bought him a ticket back to Milford, Delaware. They talked for hours at the train station until Ivy’s friend arrived. She waved goodbye at Kurt, who still had to wait a few hours. But on her way back home, she prayed he would get on that train.
Ivy ran through the doors of the hospital and breathed that icy Cold Spring air as she tried to calm down. But the tears started flowing and wouldn’t stop, so she rested her back on the wall and slowly bent down until she could cry on her knees. Her heart was breaking because her mother was diagnosed with a complicated disease, and they didn’t have the money to pay for her treatment.
Her family went through a seriously rough patch over the past year. Her father died during the pandemic, and the medical costs were astronomical. Her mother had always been a stay-at-home parent, and Ivy had been responsible for everything. She still had not paid her late dad’s debt, and now her mother was sick.
But aside from the money, she might now lose her mother. “It’s not fair!” she wailed quietly, still resting her forehead on her knees. “I can’t do this… I can’t do this….”
“What can’t you do?” a man’s voice asked.
Ivy didn’t have the strength to look up. “I can’t pay for my mother’s treatment. She’s going to die, and I can’t do anything about it. I swear… this country doesn’t care… the doctors don’t care…” she answered, lifting her head a bit and placing a hand on her forehead.
She saw the shadow of a man moving, and he seemed to be trying to look at her face. Ivy wanted to cover herself because she was probably red, bloated, and snot might be coming out of her mouth. But she didn’t.
“I’ll think it’ll work out, Ivy,” the man said surprisingly. Ivy looked up, focused on the man’s face, and narrowed her eyes. Suddenly, her brain connected the dots. It was Kurt. But he looked completely different from what she remembered. He was in a fancy suit and was smiling back at her confidently.
She stood up in a flash and almost jumped on him. “Kurt! I can’t believe it! This is amazing!” Ivy exclaimed as he hugged her back.
“I finally found you. I’ve been looking for you for a few days, but I only had your name to go on. Luckily, this place is like a small town. Your neighbor told me you were here, though. Tell me everything,” Kurt insisted when they ended the hug.
Ivy didn’t hold back. She told him everything that happened with her dad and now her mom. When she finished, Kurt pursed his lips, crossed his arms, and said, “I’ll make you a deal.”
“I’m so glad to be back home, honey. Dr. Henson said I was going to recover fully. Still, I almost didn’t believe him after being poked and prodded every single day,” Ivy’s mother, Tania, said gladly once they arrived at her house, and Ivy got her settled on the wheelchair. She would be weak for some time, but Tania was going to get better soon enough.
“I love it too, Mom. But there’s something I haven’t told you yet. I have a surprise for you!” Ivy revealed mysteriously.
“What is it, Ivy?” her mother asked with a slight frown.
“Look,” Ivy exclaimed, pulling her gloves off and showing off her engagement ring.
Tania’s jaw fell. “Is that… is it…” she stuttered while pointing at Ivy’s hand. “KURT PROPOSED?!”
“Yes! We’re getting married!” Ivy cheered and hugged her mother, who started crying. Suddenly, the front door opened, and Kurt came out to embrace his future mother-in-law as well.
That day back at the hospital, Kurt told Ivy he was going to pay for everything. She protested at first because his ticket back home had only been a few hundred dollars, whereas her mother’s medical bills would be in the hundreds of thousands. But Kurt insisted. He also finished paying her old debts and was right beside her to offer his support through everything.
Kurt was now a successful lawyer in Manhattan, after making up with his parents and going back to school. He had been too busy for a while to look for Ivy and repay her kindness, although he didn’t live that far from Cold Springs. However, he took a break and decided to find her. After discovering her predicament, he moved closer to Cold Springs and commuted to his office.
They started dating after Tania’s first successful surgery.
“Are you guys sure? You’ve only known each for a few months,” Tania wondered after they brought her inside and settled in the living room.
Ivy looked at Kurt with a warm smile and answered. “Yeah, we’re sure. Anyway, life’s too short to wait for happiness.” Kurt smiled back and kissed her cheek.
What can we learn from this story?
- One random act of kindness can change someone’s life. Kurt was homeless until Ivy offered to help him, and he was later able to repay her gesture.
- Good karma pays off. Ivy was desperate due to serious medical debt until Kurt showed up, offering to repay his debt to her.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about an older couple who lost their son in a car accident and started receiving strange envelopes of money.
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