Poor janitor feeds homeless kid every day. Years later, Luck’s car stops in front of him while removing the trash from the office building. Alan saw a little boy, Christopher, rummaging for food. Instead of scolding him, he offered the kid some food, and he did so every day.
Until one day, Alan decided to do something even more for the kid. Years later, the boy made sure to pay him back.
The creek from The Swinging Door felt louder than usual that afternoon. Allen worked as the janitor of an office building with over 40 floors full of corporate workers. At 4 pm, they had one hour of peace before pandemonium broke out and everyone clocked out of their jobs. It was a perfect time to take a break and have a sandwich outside, but he had to take out some of the trash from earlier that day.
The trash cans were in the back of the building in an alleyway from street view. As he hauled the two large black bags, he noticed the lid of a bin open. “Hey,” Alan called out, and a little head peeked over – a young boy chewing on something he had gotten from the trash.
“What are you doing? Don’t eat the trash,” Alan warned. The boy jumped back, closing the lid and looking for a way out. Unfortunately, the only way to escape was through Allen, and the janitor caught him mid-run. “Wait, wait, wait,” the older man said, calming the boy down. “I’m not angry. I’m not gonna tell anybody. Just come with me.”
Alan left the trash bags forgotten and walked to the side of the alley where they could sit on a low brick wall. He patted the spot next to him, and the boy sat down. Alan produced a fresh sandwich from his lunchbox, and the boy’s eyes brightened with delight. Alan would wait to say something until after they both finished eating.
He passed the boy some of his soda to share as well. “What’s your name, kid?” he wondered. The boy remained silent. “All right, I’m Alan. Tell you what, you can come again tomorrow, and I’ll have a whole sandwich and soda for you this time, exactly. But only if you tell me your name.”
“Christopher,” the boy said around his last mouthful. “Thank you, sir.”
“You’re welcome,” Alan replied, and the silence returned for a few minutes. It was more comfortable than he would have ever imagined. Every few seconds, Allen stole glances at the kid. His face and clothes were dirtied up, but at least he had several layers of clothes. By the looks of it, he was homeless and alone. It was hard to imagine how long and why he had been on the streets. But life was tough, and things happened.
“Please don’t tell anyone,” Christopher said, standing up. His eyes were wide and genuine, and he nodded, pleading with Alan to promise.
“I’ll be back tomorrow,” he added, relieved. With those words, he ran off, lost among the other buildings in the street. Alan sighed, not knowing if he would see the kid again, but Christopher came back every day and waited for his sandwich.
After a few days of that routine, Alan tried to ask more questions, like where his parents were, why he was alone, and where he lived. But the boy didn’t want to answer anything. “I don’t have anyone or anything,” he would say.
“Alan, I have some kids’ clothes,” Allen told his neighbors, William and Jesse. They had an older kid and might have some clothes left over. Jesse offered to help more and suggested finding a home for the kid, but Christopher feared foster homes. “That’s worse. I could eat, thanks,” the boy said after sitting back down. But, the janitor knew that living on the streets wasn’t a sustainable option for Christopher.
One day, Christopher opened up more to Allen, and he got the courage to ask him tough questions, gently demanding honest answers. Apparently, Allen had earned the child’s trust. Christopher revealed a few things: “My mom and her boyfriend were not good people. I ran away.” Allen was saddened to hear that they had hurt the boy.
“Adults should take care of kids,” Allen shook his head, silently enraged. “What about another home?” he asked Christopher.
“I have some friends who know some people,” the boy replied, but then he shook his head. “No, no foster homes. That’s worse. I could eat,” he said, gratefully accepting a sandwich.
“Kid, you can’t live this life forever,” Allen said. “I know this may not be hard, but being on the streets is a cycle most people can’t break. You should be in school, playing with other kids, and learning. It’s your only chance to succeed.”
Christopher looked at his borrowed shoes. “I don’t know what to do. Everyone is bad except you,” he confessed, and Allen saw tears running down his face. Finally, the janitor stood up and knelt before the kid.
“Not everyone is bad, Chris. I don’t have much to offer you, but I know people who can help. Please let me help you. We could find you a home, and if you don’t like it, we can try again.”
Christopher sniffed, trying hard not to cry openly, but he didn’t win that battle. His cries came in small waves until Allen wrapped his arms around him, and the wails were loud and heartbreaking. Allen didn’t have many words of comfort for the child, but he patted his back and told him everything would be fine. “I promise that if you let me and other good people into your life, you can get through anything, Chris. You can do more,” he promised.
When the wails subsided, the kid nodded into his chest. That night, he talked to his neighbors again and explained that the kid probably had a bad experience at a foster home, and he didn’t trust easily. William and Jesse volunteered to take him in, as they had already raised one kid who got several scholarships and excelled in college.
A few days later, they came to the alleyway and met Christopher. Allen explained who they were and where they lived, assuring him that they would always be around. He would also have a big brother if he went with them. It was slow, and sometimes things were difficult for the boy, but Christopher learned to trust Jesse and William. Allen witnessed how they formed a family together, and it was a beautiful sight.
A few years later, Jesse and William’s older kid, Jackson, landed a great job on the other side of the country. He didn’t want his parents so far away and paid for them all to move. At first, Christopher was reluctant because he didn’t want to go far from Allen. But he came to realize that they were his family, and he would still be able to write to and call Allen.
They stayed in touch regularly over the next two months, but the communication slowly faded as his life got busier. Allen missed him and his neighbors, but that’s life. He could only hope that they were all doing well.
Many years later, Allen was still working in the same office building. He had become the janitorial manager and supervised the staff as best as he could. Every single day, he went out to the alley and had his sandwich. He always remembered Christopher in those moments and wondered how he was doing.
One day, a fanciest car he had ever seen entered the alleyway, which was not allowed. “Hey, you can’t go through here, it’s illegal,” Allen said, wiping his mouth and putting a sandwich in his lunchbox. He stood, waving his hands.
But a man in a black suit stepped out of the car and walked towards Allen. The janitorial manager felt a fight rising, as some corporate men thought they could talk to people however they wanted. “I told you, sir, you can’t park here, it’s illegal, and I’ll be forced to call the cops,” Allen warned, trying not to escalate the matter.
“What kind of sandwich are you having today? Do you have one for me?” the man asked, ignoring the subject of his illegally parked car.
Alan repeated, “What? Or do you want me to dig from the trash?”
The man finally took off his sunglasses, revealing a face Allen didn’t recognize at first. “Or do you want me to dig from the trash, Allen?” the man repeated. Then it clicked in Allen’s mind.
“Christopher?” he asked in surprise.
“The one and only,” Christopher smiled. “Oh my boy!” Alan laughed and opened his arms. They embraced tightly, and he gave Christopher a few pats on the back before pulling away.
“I have half a sandwich. I hope that’s enough,” Allen said.
Christopher looked to the side and pursed his lips. “I have a better idea, get in,” Christopher said smugly, putting his glasses back on and walking to his car.
“I can’t leave, don’t worry. We’ll be back in a second,” Christopher reassured, and turned the ignition. Allen shrugged and rushed to the car, commenting on how nice it was. But when he asked where they were going, Christopher only responded, “You’ll see.”
A few minutes later, they drove through the gates of the fanciest neighborhood in town. “Oh, we’re going to your house. I didn’t know you were back in town,” Alan marveled at the houses he saw on the way, and they finally stopped at one of the most beautiful properties he had ever seen.
“We’re here,” Christopher stated, parking in the driveway.
“Oh, kid, look at what you’ve accomplished. I’m so proud,” Alan said, looking at the exterior. “Wait, Christopher said before Alan could open the car door. This is not my house. It’s your house.”
“What? No,” Allen shook his head.
“It is. I bought it in cash for you,” Christopher said. “Years ago, I didn’t trust anyone, especially adults. But one adult showed me kindness, told me that I couldn’t survive long on the streets, and got me to trust the right people. Oh, kid, I did what anyone else would,” the older man looked down.
“No, no one else did. You got me a family when you couldn’t take me in yourself,” Christopher continued. “I love Mom, Dad, and Jackson. They’re my family, but you saved me. I owe you. So this is my gift to you.”
“I can’t take such a thing,” Alan said, his words choked.
“Yes, you can, and you will. It’s in your name, anyway,” Christopher said. “I am who I am because someone shared a sandwich with me years ago. I can’t thank you enough for that. Please accept it, you deserve it.”
Allen finally nodded, and they exited the car for a tour. By the end of the week, they had moved Allen into the mansion, and Christopher made them some sandwiches to share on the porch overlooking a fantastic view of a small lake.
“Better than an alleyway, huh, Chris?” Allen smiled.
“Surprisingly, I don’t know. Some alleys have good things,” Christopher replied, and they laughed together.