“A poor young orphan buys her daughter an old secondhand stroller at a flea market and ends up finding something inside it that will change her life.
Carrie Donovan met her husband Tyler in foster care. The two had been orphaned at a young age, and they became each other’s whole life. They married straight after high school, and it looked as if they were on their way to a happy life together.
Five years later, Tyler had a good job with a construction company as a supervisor, and he had good health insurance and a reasonable salary, so he decided it was time to have a family. To Carrie’s joy, she was soon pregnant, and life seemed perfect to the happy couple until Tyler had a terrible accident at work.
He fell from the third floor and hurt his back badly. Carrie, who had given up her job as a secretary in her seventh month of pregnancy, was home when she received the phone call informing her that her husband was seriously injured. She rushed over to the hospital, and her distress was such that she went into labor weeks before her due date.
The happiest moment of her life was also the worst; hours after their little Layla was born, doctors told Carrie that Tyler would never walk again. When Tyler left the hospital six months later, he was in a wheelchair. The insurance paid off some benefits, and Tyler received a Disability Pension, but money was tight, especially with a tiny baby in the family. Carrie decided to go back to work, and Tyler was determined that he would take care of the baby.
Kerry found a job at a busy Diner and often had to work the night shifts. Fortunately, one of her colleagues, Ms. Higgs, became a good friend. Mrs. Higgs was in her early 60s, a smiling, cheerful woman who often joined Kerry’s family for a Sunday lunch in their home.
One Sunday, Kerry confessed she was saving up for a stroller for Layla. “I want to buy a stroller, but they are so expensive,” Carrie told Mrs. Higgs. “Hundreds of dollars, only if you buy it brand new,” said Mrs. Higgs.
“One of my friend’s daughters bought a gorgeous stroller at the flea market for fifty dollars, really?” asked Carrie hopefully. “Kindness is sometimes done by a hidden hand,” said Mrs. Higgs. “Strollers are expensive, and children only use them for a year or two, so people sell them. I tell you what, I’ll take you to the flea market next week.”
The next weekend, Carrie and Mrs. Higgs went to the flea market together, and sure enough, there was a lovely old stroller. Mrs. Higgs inspected it carefully inside and out and declared herself content that it was in good condition.
Carrie paid for the stroller and wheeled it home happily. She proceeded to clean the stroller inside and out, but when she pulled out the seat cushions to wash them, she found an envelope underneath. Intent on getting the stroller ready, Carrie set the envelope aside, and it would be three days before she remembered it again.
Kerry was tidying her desk when she came across the envelope. She turned it over and opened it. Inside was a single sheet of paper. It read, “If you’re reading this, you’re probably a young mother just like I was, and I’m dead and buried. I hope that I can bring about some positive change into your life. Go to house 8 on 3rd Avenue and look under the oak.”
The next day, Carrie went to the address of the note and found an old abandoned house, and in the garden was a huge old oak tree with a white stone in its shadow. Could there be buried treasure here? Carrie was a little embarrassed to believe it, but was excited as a child on Christmas morning.
The next day she was back with a shovel and started digging under the oak. She dug that yard for days but found nothing. Carrie was ready to give up when she found a note in her locker. “You’re not supposed to dig. What you’re looking for is in plain sight under the oak.”
Carrie gasped. The mysterious note was in the same handwriting as the note in the stroller. That afternoon she hurried back and took another look at the stone under the oak. The closer she looked, the more it seemed that it was concrete and not stone.
Carrie picked up her shovel and gave the stone a hard whack. It cracked but didn’t break, so Carrie hit it again and again. At last, the stone shattered inside was a small metal strong box with a key in the lock.
Inside the box, Carrie was delighted to find several thick wads of cash and what seemed to be a fortune in jewels. On top of the treasure was yet another note. “My dear, life brought me love and wealth, but what I most wanted was a child.
My husband and I tried to have a baby for many years, then finally God gave us a beautiful daughter. Sadly, she wasn’t ours for long; our beautiful girl died young, and my husband didn’t survive her loss. She would have been your age, and I hope she would have been just like you. Be happy, my dear.”
Carrie hurried home to Tyler with a nagging suspicion at the back of her mind. There was only one person that could be their benefactor; who else had had access to the stroller and her locker? But when she arrived at work, eager to confront her friend and express her gratitude, she discovered that Mrs. Higgs was gone. According to the diner’s manager, Mrs. Higgs had left suddenly, and she told him she was moving to a farm in Montana. She left a forwarding address, and Carrie saw that the handwriting was identical to her benefactor’s.
Kerry was now sure that Mrs. Higgs had slipped the note into the stroller, and felt her heartbreak at losing her friend. Carrie and Tyler sat down together and came up with a plan. With the money and the jewels, Carrie and Tyler bought themselves a lovely little home with an extra room and a special car that Tyler could drive.
Then they took a road trip to Montana. Mrs. Higgs was stunned to see them drive up, but she was smiling when Carrie threw her arms around her. “It was you!” cried Carrie, hugging Mrs. Higgs. “It was you all along! Please, I don’t want to lose you, my darling Mrs. Higgs.”
Carrie and Tyler invited Mrs. Higgs to come back to the city and move in with them. “I love you, Mrs. Higgs, and since you were gone, I realized how much. Won’t you come back with us?” Carrie said. “I know I can’t take the place of your girl, but Tyler and I need a mom, and Layla needs a grandmother.
We were hoping you’d take the job.” Mrs. Higgs accepted with her eyes filled with tears. For the first time in many years, life promised to be an adventure, and she ended up sharing in the happiness she helped to create.”