Sophie knows what it feels like to grow up without a close family and decides to show love and care to the oldies abandoned by their family in nursing homes. Unbeknownst to her, her kind gestures lead her to meet someone she never knew existed.
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Mr. Rogers!
Happy Birthday to you!
The melodies of celebrations resounded across the room. It was indeed a happy day for Mr. Rogers, who was celebrating his 91st birthday.
Other residents at the nursing home had joined in celebrating Mr. Rogers’ milestone, and they all carried bright smiles as they clapped and cheered him on.
As the applause died, Sophie, who had arranged the whole thing, walked up to the gaffer in a wheelchair and presented him with a small present. It was a small wrapped gift and a birthday card.
“Happy Birthday Mr. Rogers. I hope today brings you joy and happiness!” she said as she hugged the older man.
“Thank you so much, Sophie. This was very thoughtful of you!” he answered, his eyes teary.
The residents all knew Sophie and got along well with her. At 19, she had been arranging these small celebrations for the residents’ birthdays for the past year, and she’d become a well-loved “addition” to the home.
She would bring a present for the residents’ birthdays and have the kitchen bake them a small cake. The residents appreciated the kind gesture. For most of them, the act of kindness felt like the epitome of love and care, as they had no family outside the home.
After they had cut and shared the cake, the other residents started leaving the hall, but Mr. Rogers stopped Sophie in her tracks. “I appreciate this a lot, but I gotta ask, why do you do it?”
“It is a long story, Mr. Rogers. I doubt you’ll want to hear it.”
“I’ve got all day, deary,” he answered, his eyes beaming with anticipation.
Sophie pushed Mr. Rogers’ wheelchair outside and settled him under the shade of a beautiful Tulip Poplar tree that had blossomed into these gorgeous yellow flowers. It was spring, after all, and everything outside looked gorgeous. It looked like a good day to hang out outside.
She sat on the grass and announced, “Well, you asked for it! Don’t blame me if I bore you to death!”
She chuckled as Mr. Rogers let out a hearty laugh before saying, “After what you did for me today, I don’t care how boring it is. I better pretend it is interesting!”
Mrs. Johnson was, without a shadow of a doubt, Sophie’s grandmother!
Their heads fell back in laughter before Sophie suddenly composed herself.
“Well, I—I was born on the Southside of Florida, but when I turned one, my parents realized they were better off without a child. They wanted their freedom, and having a baby only tied them down, so they abandoned me on the porch of a children’s home.”
A solemn tear fell down Sophie’s cheek, but her body appeared very calm compared to how tangled her mind was. She continued, “Of course, I was too young to understand what was happening, and I still can’t recall what that felt like or how they looked.”
“Oh, poor baby, I’m so incredibly sorry that happened to you! Now I feel terrible that I asked!”
“Don’t feel bad, Mr. Rogers. Sometimes it helps to talk about it,” Sophie said nonchalantly. “Growing up in a children’s home was tough and sometimes lonely. I decided that once I was a little older, I would love and care for others without family, even if for a day, to show them that there were people in the world that still loved them.”
“Since I turned 18, I’ve visited numerous nursing homes in the district and, with the help of the administration, identified those with upcoming birthdays and done something small for them.”
“Oh, wow! That is the saddest yet most fulfilling story I’ve heard in a long time. You are truly a blessing to many, as you have been to me today,” Mr. Rogers said, extending his hands to hug Sophie. “One day, God will definitely reward you for your good heart!”
As she left the nursing home that evening, Sophie felt lighthearted. It did help to speak out about her story. She was happy she had made somebody happy that day and was excited for the next day.
The next day…
Sophie arrived at a different nursing home bearing gifts. It was Mrs. Johnson’s birthday. As was the norm, some residents had gathered to help the older woman celebrate her big day. Once Sophie arrived, she went by the kitchen, collected the small cake, and trotted to the hall.
There, she set the cake, alongside the gift and bouquet of flowers, on the table before greeting the residents. “Hello, everyone! Most of you know me, but for those that don’t, I am Sophie, and we are here to celebrate Mrs. Johnson!”
Everyone clapped and burst into an enthusiastic birthday song as Mrs. Johnson walked to the front. She hugged Sophie. As the music gained momentum, Mrs. Johnson received her gift, bouquets, and birthday card from Sophie, then blew out the candles on the cake.
The smile on her face was enough to tell how she felt. After they had shared the cake and the celebration was over, Sophie and Mrs. Johnson sat down and talked for a while. Mrs. Johnson narrated how her daughter had abandoned her at the nursing home so she could run away with her boyfriend.
To the old woman’s surprise, Sophie’s eyes widened before she said, “My mother left me too.”
“Oh?” a shocked Mrs. Johnson answered.
“She and my dad left me on the porch of a children’s home and took off. The only thing she left behind was this pendant she put on my neck before running off,” Sophie said, holding the jade-green pendant hanging from a silver chain. She rubbed at the piece of jewelry, her mind looking preoccupied.
“Can I have a look?” asked Mrs. Johnson, nudging Sophie back to the present.
“Of course, of course,” Sophie answered, bending forward a little so Mrs. Johnson could have a closer look.
“This can’t be true… I once gave this pendant to my daughter, and it has her initials engraved on it!” a wide-eyed Mrs. Johnson announced. “The initials A. L. J stand for Anna Lyse Johnson.”
“That’s my mother’s name!” Sophie screamed. They stared at each other and, for moments, remained tongue-tied. “I don’t believe it. This can’t be true! You mean to say you’re my…my grandma?”
“Well, I guess..it seems like it…” Mrs. Johnson stammered.
What were the chances? Sophie and Mrs. Johnson hugged for a long time, each lost in their new reality.
After the initial shock died, Sophie asked Mrs. Johnson if she would be willing to take a DNA test, just to be sure. She agreed.
Days later, the results were out, and they were indeed related. Mrs. Johnson was, without a shadow of a doubt, Sophie’s grandmother!
Only days ago, Sophie had no one she could call family, as did Mrs. Johnson, and now they had found each other. Funny how destiny works.
Luckily, Sophie had just started an excellent job and made a decent enough salary to support her and her grandmother. She also soon discovered that Mrs. Johnson still had plenty of money in the bank that could afford them a good lifestyle.
Mr. Rogers’ words had come to pass. His words replayed in Sophie’s head. God had finally rewarded her for her good heart.
A week later, she came to pick her grandmother up, and the two drove off to their new happy life together. Even as they bonded over their newfound reality, they promised to continue the tradition of visiting the other oldies on their birthdays.
What can we learn from this story?
Do your part in selflessness, and the universe will match it tenfold. Sophie did not have to visit the oldies at the nursing homes, but she wanted to show love and care, and her selfless acts rewarded her handsomely when she met her grandmother.
A little kindness goes a long way. Sophie may have only afforded to gift the oldies a small present and a card, but to them, it meant the world that someone would go out of their way to celebrate them.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.