Joe’s daughter wanted to give up her son for adoption; however, Joe would not allow her to do so. He offered to raise the boy himself. Years later, things got so bad for Joe financially that he decided to steal just to feed Little Leo. Joe was a kind-hearted elderly man who tried his best to live his life with love and integrity. Life had not always been kind to him, but he woke up each day choosing to live his life in kindness.
Joe was a widower with one child, his daughter Ashley. Joe’s relationship with his daughter was on the rocks after she decided to put her child up for adoption. This was a decision that Joe simply could not stand by. Ashley and her husband had a child named Leo, and the couple abandoned their child shortly after he was born, fearing that they did not have the means to support him.
Upon hearing that they planned on putting Little Leo up for adoption, Joe pleaded with his daughter to let him look after the child. After a long back-and-forth, Ashley finally agreed to let her father raise the child. However, she made it clear that she would keep her distance from the two and wanted nothing to do with Little Leo. This caused an enormous rift in Joe and his daughter’s relationship.
Years passed, and Joe did his best to raise Little Leo the best way he could. Just like his daughter, Joe struggled financially to raise Leo, but he was committed to working tirelessly to put food on the table for Little Leo. In his old age, Joe was no longer working; he was dependent on a small pension to feed Leo and himself.
His pension was barely enough to keep them going, and they found themselves living hand to mouth. As time progressed, things became tougher for Joe. He needed various medications and treatments to make his life a little more comfortable; however, he decided to cut down on such costs so he could attend to Leo’s needs, which seemed to only increase the older he got.
One day, things took a turn for the worst for Joe after he received an eviction letter due to heavy utility bills. Joe was distraught because he had always paid his bills. However, after investigating, Joe learned something that made him feel so sad.
“It seems you’ve been sending the money to a set of wrong accounts all this time,” the bank teller explained to Joe. Joe had never felt more unprepared in his life. “Is there a way I could get it back and update my payments?” Joe asked. The bank teller replied, “I am sorry; there isn’t any way to reverse the transactions.”
Joe was heartbroken. All his hard-earned money had gone to waste just like that. Joe was forced to empty his pension fund and savings to pay off his debts and loans. However, he still found himself drowning in debt. He had managed to keep a roof over his and Leo’s head, but they were completely strapped for cash and couldn’t even afford their next meal.
Joe had one option: to turn to his daughter for help. Ashley worked at the till for a local grocery store. Joe, desperate to feed his grandson, went with Leo to visit Ashley and ask for her help. Joe asked Leo to stay outside while he spoke to his mother. The both of them looked pretty frail and thin; their financial strain was clearly apparent at this point.
“I’ll need you to stay here, okay? I just need to talk to your mother for a second,” Joe explained. “Alright, Granddad,” Leo responded.
Leo knew Ashley was his mother, but after a couple of failed attempts at reconciling, he finally accepted that Joe was his true parent. “Hello, Ashley,” Joe said, catching her off guard as she was packing some stock on the shelves. “Dad, what are you doing here?” Ashley asked in confusion. “We need your help, Ashley. Leo needs your help,” a downcast Joe explained. “Help?” Ashley asked with a scoff. “We need a little money to get by, just for food, please,” Joe pleaded.
“Dad, I told you I wanted to give him away for adoption, but you insisted. It’s not my problem anymore,” Ashley said casually, continuing with her work. “How can you say that? He’s your child, Ashley,” Joe asked, aghast. “A child I made it clear I couldn’t support,” Ashley said, growing more frustrated. “You said you’d do it, but now here you are asking me for help,” she retorted. “Things have changed. You have a job now. I would have thought you would have taken the opportunity to get to know him better now that you have a stable income,” Joe explained.
“Well, you thought wrong. I made my intentions very clear with how I felt about that child,” Ashley said, growing even colder. Joe’s persistence, “That child is your son, Ashley. How can you still give up on him like that? I never once gave up on you, even when I didn’t agree with your life decisions. I always gave you a chance. Leo’s innocent in all of this. Don’t you think he deserves a chance?” Joe pleaded wholeheartedly.
“Save me the speech, Dad. I have enough problems of my own,” Ashley bluntly replied. Joe couldn’t believe how cold his daughter’s heart had grown. She was his last hope. As he looked around the store, his thoughts drifted into a very uncharacteristic realm for Joe. For the first time, he considered stealing. Joe would do whatever it took to make sure his grandson didn’t go to bed hungry.
He looked around and made sure no one was watching him, then he grabbed a loaf of bread, tucked it under his large jacket, and made for the exit. As he was about to exit the store, he was suddenly stopped by the security guard. “Sir, please unzip your jacket,” the security guard insisted. The minute Joe unzipped the jacket, the loaf fell to the floor. The security guard immediately called the police and took him to the back room for detainment.
As Joe sat in detainment, he looked at Ashley through the glass window. She could see him, but she made no effort to help him out. “Please, just talk to Ashley; she’s my daughter,” Joe pleaded with the security guard. “Yeah, yeah, you keep saying that, but when I asked her just now, she said she didn’t have a clue who you were. So, please save your sob story for the police,” the security guard barked.
Moments later, the police dragged Joe out of the store and hauled him into the back seat of the police car. “Please don’t take my grandpa; he’s all that I have left,” Little Leo begged in tears. However, the police paid him no mind and continued with their arrest. Leo was in tears at the store steps as he watched the police leave with his grandfather.
A few moments after the police car drove off, the store’s owner arrived to find a frail Leo in tears at his business’s doorstep. “What’s wrong, little man?” the store owner compassionately asked. “The police arrested my grandpa; he’s all I have,” Leo explained. “Sorry to hear that. What did he get arrested for?” the store owner asked. “Stealing bread.
He didn’t mean anything by it; he’s a good man. He just wanted to make sure I had something to eat,” Leo said.
“He stepped in and looked after me after my parents abandoned me. My mom works here, but she did nothing to help him,” Leo explained. “Why is that?” the store owner asked. “I don’t know, sir. I think she just wants nothing to do with me. My grandpa says we’ll be a family again once she gets her things together, but honestly, I enjoy things with Grandpa. We love each other even though things have been a little hard. He’s always tried his best to look after me,” Leo confessed dejectedly.
Hearing this was something the store owner couldn’t ignore. He knelt to meet the boy’s eyes. “I was abandoned by my parents as a child as well. I never knew my parents, but my foster parents were just like your grandpa. They did their best to make sure I was looked after and loved. Don’t worry, little one; we’ll get your grandfather out of there, trust me,” the store owner promised.
The store owner immediately went to the police station and had them release Joe. He had to make up a story about the incident, that Joe was meant to take the bread for free in the first place, but the security guard didn’t know about this when he called the cops. While the kind store owner had to pay a fine for falsely calling the police, he was happily able to get Joe out without a hassle.
The store owner then fired Ashley for how poorly she treated her own family. He felt he could not in good conscience hire someone who could be so heartless. Instead, he gave the position to Joe, which eventually helped him with their financial troubles. Feeling sympathetic towards a man his age, the store owner gave Joe simple tasks while paying him handsomely.