A Christmas Miracle
"Sir, I have only 2 dollars, what can I buy to eat. I haven't eaten for three days and this is the last of my money."
"Two dollars isn't a lot of money. I'll see what I have left over and I'll sell that to you for two dollars." Going into the kitchen, the man put two chicken legs, some rolls and an apple into a paper bag with some napkins. "Here is some leftovers, since I was going to throw this away you can have it."
The child couldn't believe his good fortune. He had some food and still had his two dollars. "Thank you sir, I really appreciate this."
The boy took the bag and headed to the park to eat his food. On his way he saw an old man who looked like he was hungry as well. The boy looked into the bag and saw what the man at the diner had given him. "Are you hungry, sir?"
"Yes, I haven't eaten for a long time."
"I don't have much but I'll share my food with you."
The boy open a bag and placed a chicken leg and a roll into a napkin, handing it to the old man. They sat together on a bench in front of a closed store to eat their food. The old man thanked the boy and left him there to finish his food.
The next evening the boy and his two dollars were walking past the diner of the previous night. The same man came out and asked the boy if he wanted the left overs. The boy nodded yes and followed the man into the diner. As the previous night, the man gave the boy a paper bag with food and told him to keep his money. The boy thanked the man for the food and left the diner.
He had not gotten far when he saw a small boy sitting on the ground crying, "Why are you crying?"
"I'm hungry and I haven't eaten for two days. I have no money and no one wants to give me any food."
"I'll share my food with you," Opening the bag he saw two hamburgers and a lot of french fries and an apple. He gave the boy the hamburger and put some of the fires in a napkin. The boy's eyes couldn't believe the quantity of food he was given. "How old are you?"
"I'm eight years old, I was with my parents and got lost. I'm not sure where they are. I thought if I sit here they will come and find me."
The boy handed him the apple, "For later if you're hungry. If I see you tomorrow I'll share what food I have with you." Saying good bye, the boy headed to the park where he had a nest. He slept under one of the buildings, it was safe and if you didn't know how to crawl under the shed you wouldn't know if anyone was there. In the morning he washed as best he could in the park toilet and then spent the day looking for work. Some days he could earn a dollar sweeping a store, or helping unload a truck. That was some days, but not every day.
That evening as he passed the diner, the man came out and asked him if he wanted left over food. The boy followed the man into the diner, the man repeated his movements, went to the back and returned with a paper bag. The boy thanked him, "You have been kind by giving me this food. Isn't there something I can do, maybe sweep the floor or do the dishes. I appreciate the food but if I can help, I would like to do it."
"I'll think about it, maybe there are some odds and ends you can do. Stop here tomorrow night."
The boy thanked the man and left. As he entered the park, he saw and old woman sitting on a bench. She had a ragged shawl around her shoulders, worn slippers on her feet and the dress was very dirty. "Would you like to share my food?"
"Yes, if I could. I have eaten for a few days and I'm hungry."
The boy opened the bag and there were two meatloaf sandwiches, with two potatoes and an apple. The boy handed one of the sandwiches to the old woman and one of the potatoes. As they sat there and eat, the old woman asked him what was his name and where did he live.
He told her his name was Toby and he lived in the park. "This is very kind of you to share your food with me."
The boy saw a tear run down the cheek of the old woman, "If you're here tomorrow, I'll share my food with you again." Saying good night, Toby headed for his nest.
The next day, Toby went to the diner at the appointed hour. The man greeted him and told him if he would wash the dishes he would give him some food. Toby followed the man into the kitchen and saw a table stacked high with dirty dishes, pots and pans. The man showed Toby how to clean and when he was done, how to load the sanitizer. Toby thought he would never get done, but he set his mind to the job. He was surprised when he noticed that he was making a major dent in the pile of dishes. When he was done, the man kept to his word and gave Toby a paper bag of food, "If you come back tomorrow you can wash more dishes for food."
Toby thanked the man and headed to his nest. As he entered the park expecting to see the old woman instead he saw a woman with two children. One of the children came to Toby, "Sir do you have any food? We haven't eaten for several days."
Toby knew that he would have food the next day, so he gave the bag of food to the child. Smiling he patted the child on the head and headed to his nest. Toby's stomach growled a little that night but Toby remembered when his stomach made a much louder growl.
The next morning after washing, he began to walk the streets of the city and noticed all of the decorations. Church bells were ringing, store windows were decorated with animated toys. Toby had tears in his eyes as he remembered that today was Christmas. He knew there would not be any special presents for him or a Christmas dinner. When he remembered what it was like when he lived at home, the tears began to flood his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. He turned around and went back to his nest and waited till evening when he would go to the diner.
Toby believed in God but he felt abandoned. His parents abandoned him when they found out he was gay, his friends abandoned him when they found out and his church abandoned him. He was alone in a world he didn't understand. And now it was Christmas and he felt more alone than ever before.
He could faintly hear church bells, calling people to worship. He knew those bells weren't for him. The church had said he was evil and God hated him. Toby couldn't understand why, he tried to be good and do good deeds, but that one thing that he not change, seemed to wipe all the good he did from the record.
That evening, Toby prepared to go to the diner. But when he got there, or at least where he thought it should be, there was no diner or building. It was an empty lot. Toby retraced his steps, he knew he was at the right spot. As he turned to walk back to this nest, fully confused. He met the old man whom he had shared his chicken. "Good evening, Toby."
Toby was surprised that the man knew his name. "Do you remember me?"
"Yes, I met you when I was leaving the diner with my food. I shared it with you."
"Yes, you did. I was very hungry and so where you. But you shared your food."
As the man walked with Toby, Toby saw the little boy who was sitting in the dirt.
"Hello Toby, do you remember me?"
"Yes, you were hungry and crying, I shared my food with you."
The child stood up and took Toby's hand as they walked to the park.
"Hello Toby, do you remember me?"
Toby looked at the old woman, "Yes, you were sitting on that bench and I shared my food with you."
"Yes, you did. I knew you were hungry just like I was but you willingly shared your food. Several peopled passed me that day and you were the only one who offered to share your food."
Now it seemed there was a little parade going into the park. The old man, the little boy and the old woman. But as Toby looked at them they seemed to be a little different. He couldn't tell exactly how they were different ,just that they were. As Toby got closer to his nest, he saw the woman with the two children. The boy who asked for the food the night before, "Toby, you have no food tonight."
"No, the diner wasn't there. I knew it was suppose to be there, but it wasn't there. So I wasn't able to get any food. I'm sorry if you are hungry I have no food for you. I'm confused. I don't know what is happening."
Toby sat down on the bench, tears were running down his cheeks. He was sorry he didn't have food to share and he didn't have any for himself as well.
"Why are you crying my child?"
"I thought I had a job that would get me food. I have shared my food and now that I haven't any, my friends will have to go hungry."
"Your friends won't go hungry and neither will you. I'm a very rich man and I have no one in my life, this old gentleman who you shared your dinner with, works for me. The little boy is the son of my gardener, the old woman also works for me as my cook. The young lady and her two children are the gardeners family. We have been looking for someone to come and live with me. For the last 6 months we have been on the street, looking for a kind person who was willing to share their meagre food. When Albert came back and told me that you shared your food, I sent the boy, he confirmed that you shared your food, and then the old woman and the gardeners family further confirmed your generosity. I knew I found what I was seeking, someone with a big heart and a good conscience."
"But the diner, I know it was there and now it is gone. Was that a dream?"
"No, it was there. But last night I moved it. You had no idea how many people came into the diner asking for food. And just like you we gave them a bag of food. But of all the people, you were the only one who came back asking for work to help pay for your food. The purpose for the diner was no longer needed."
As I lifted my head and looked at the people, the old man was't so old, his beard and wrinkles were gone, his hair was now black and his clothes didn't have any tears in them. He had a pair of nice shoes on, I was puzzled. Then the young boy, had on a clean T shirt and jeans with sneakers, his face was clean. The old woman had on a nice dress, her hair was combed, she had on some light makeup and she had a pair of leather shoes. I was getting totally confused. The young lady with the two children, walked up to me and I didn't recognize them till the little boy came and took my hand.
"Toby, you're going to come home with us. You won't have to share your food any longer."
Just then this large car stopped at the entrance to the park, "Come on Toby, let's go home."
Merry Christmas, miracles do happen.
[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. If the email address pastes with %40 in the middle, replace that with an @ sign.]