Joseph Benjamin had few dreams. At seventy-two, the widowed father of two knew what life held in store for him every single day. He got up when the sun rose and cycled to the bakery for fresh rolls.
He would then cycle back, eat breakfast, do some chores and wait for lunchtime. In the afternoons, he pottered around his little workshop and fiddled with his inventions until dinner, then he was in bed by sundown. Life was always the same until he met April and Emma.
That day started out with Joe peddling his bike to the bakery, but on the way, he saw a young woman in a grey tracksuit struggling with an old-fashioned ungainly stroller.
One of the wheels of the stroller had come off, and the woman seemed to be trying to push it back into place while her baby wailed in protest inside the lopsided stroller.
“Excuse me,” Joe said gently. “Do you need help?”
The woman looked up, and Joe saw tears in her eyes. “Yes,” she said. “I think I do!” Then, to Joe’s discomfort, she started crying.
An act of kindness can change your life.
“Please don’t cry,” Joe said, awkwardly patting the woman’s shoulder. “We’ll soon have everything fixed up good as new!”
“I’m so stupid,” the woman sobbed. “I should never have brought this old stroller out, but… It was mine when I was a baby, you see…”
“That’s nice!” Joe said. “I saved up all my children’s old toys, and my grandkids love them!”
The woman smiled and said: “Yes! I have all my old children’s books and toys too! But I didn’t think the stroller was so wonky. It was in the attic of my parent’s old place, and I grew nostalgic.”
“Let’s see what we can do,” Joe said. He took his small tool kit from the bike’s panniers and knelt by the stroller. “Aha! It’s not broken! One of the lugnuts is loose; that’s why it popped out.”
Joe fiddled with the wheel a bit then said, “You’d best take the baby out; the wheel might give a bit of a jolt when it pops back into place.
The woman picked up the baby and watched anxiously as Joe firmly pushed the wheel back where it belonged. “There,” Joe cried. “Fixed and ready to roll!”
The woman was smiling happily as she cuddled her baby. “Thank you,” she cried. “You’re a knight in shining armor! You save my first day back in Cheyenne from being a total disaster!”
“Where were you living?” asked Joe.
“I went to college in California,” the woman said.
“You’re lucky; I have never been to California or anywhere! I’ve never seen the ocean.” Joe commented.
“California is lovely,” the woman said. “But I want my daughter to grow up in my old home.”
“I wish my kids felt the same,” Joe sighed. “Sometimes I go years without seeing them or the grandkids. What’s your little girl’s name?”
“Emma,” the woman said. “And I’m April!”
“I’m Joe,” he said, shaking her hand. “Your parents are lucky!”
April’s eyes filled with tears again. “They passed away a year ago,” she explained. “And I miss them so much!”
“Listen, April,” Joe said. “How about you and Emma have coffee with an old man?”
Joe took April and Emma to his favorite coffee shop just across the street. The two adults chatted while Emma lay in her stroller and played with her toes.
“Hey Joe,” April said. “Emma and I are going on a little trip tomorrow, so how about you join us?”
Joe was happy to accept the invitation, so April arranged to pick him up at his house early the next morning. He was waiting on the porch when a big black car driven by a chauffeur pulled up.
It was April’s car! Joe was stunned. “Wow!” he said. “That’s some car! But where are we going?”
April, who was wearing a big hat, grinned. “It’s a surprise!” And what a surprise it turned out to be. The car took them to the airport and right onto the tarmac.
“Come on, Joe,” April said. “Get out!” So Joe did and had the fright of his life when he saw a beautiful, sleek private jet taxiing towards them.
“What’s going on?” Joe cried, alarmed.
“We’re going to the beach,” April said with a huge grin. “You’re going to see the ocean!”
Joe boarded the jet. He couldn’t believe it! “Me, flying!” he cried. “Seeing the ocean! I can’t believe it!”
“I wanted to surprise you,” April said. “Because YOU were a lovely surprise. Very few people bother to stop and help a mom in distress, Joe. You’re a gentleman, and you deserve wonderful things!”
As it turned out, April had inherited a private jet charter company from her parents, and she always had a plane on call. From then on, Joe became a permanent guest on April’s holidays and getaways, and a granddad to little Emma.