Part 3: The Power Of Generosity – The School Teacher

To say that the neighborhood wasn’t ideal, especially at dusk, was an understatement.

We drove past a few check cashing places, privately owned convenience and liquor stores, all secured with bars on their windows.

I pulled into a parking place and shut the car off.

“We’re going to a pawn shop?” Marc asked.

“Do you want to get a laptop today, or not?” I retorted.

“Yes.” Marc said, as he let out a long sigh.

We got out of the car and shut the doors, as I hit the lock button on my key chain.

“Well, let’s go in.” I encouraged.

Reluctantly, Marc complied.

Once inside, I was surprised to see how packed the store was with both merchandise, and people.

We approached the electronics counter and were greeted by a man covered in tattoos.

“I’m looking for an affordable laptop.” I stated.

“Well, take a look at everything on this shelf and let me know if anything catches your eye.” He replied.

I immediately spotted a small laptop on the third shelf. It looked to be in good condition, maybe even fairly new.

“Let me see that one.” I said, pointing my finger.

The man placed the computer on the counter in front of me.

I asked, “How much is this?” As I opened the laptop and turned it on.

“Two hundred dollars,” He replied, “but it’s over three hundred brand new.”

“I actually need two laptops like this.” I said, “Both of my sons need one for school.”

“Mom, there’s another one just like that on the second shelf.” Marc yelled, sounding excited.

The man turned and grabbed the second, identical laptop and placed it in front of me.

“Do both of these work?” I asked.

“They work, you just need to reset the passwords and do a factory reset on both of the laptops,” he replied.

“I have no idea how to do that,” I confessed. “Plus, it’s more than I can afford to spend.”

“If you buy two laptops, I’ll give you both of them for two hundred dollars,” he offered.

The price had piqued my interest, but what was I going to do about the factory reset and the passwords, I thought, hesitant to make the purchase…

My deep thoughts were interrupted by a male voice.

“Hey, Marc! Good to see you!”

I turned to see a middle-aged, well dressed man with a big smile on his face.

Marc gave him a high-five, then turned to introduce me.

“Mom, this is my computer teacher at school, Mr. Bradley.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Bradley. I’m Erin.” I said, as I extended my hand.

“Nice to meet you, Erin,” Mr. Bradley replied. “So, what are you guys doing here?”

“Shopping for laptops.” I said, “I’d like to get these two, but I have no clue how to change passwords and perform a factory reset.”

“I’d be more than happy to do that for you,” Mr. Bradley said. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

The man behind the counter handed over power cords and quickly cleared a space where both laptops would be accessible.

Before I knew it, Mr. Bradley was hard at work resetting both computers.

What I didn’t realize was the entire process was going to take two hours. Mr. Bradley diligently performed his computer magic, as we watched and waited.

Just before closing time, both of the laptops were reset and as good as any brand new computer.

“Marc, your computers are just like you got them new out of the box. The first thing that you and your brother have to do is set up your passwords,” he said with a smile.

Marc was beaming as he thanked his school teacher and gave him a hug.

“Mr. Bradley, I can’t thank you enough!” I said with delight. “I feel like I should pay you for your time.”

“No worries, Erin.” Mr. Bradley replied, “It was my pleasure!”

“See you at school, Marc!” Mr. Bradley said, as he headed out of the store.

I turned back to the counter as the tattooed man said, “That will be two hundred dollars, plus tax.”

I took out the two hundred dollars that I had saved for an emergency. Then I counted out the tax from the remainder of the money I had left after our visit to Job Lot.

I paused for a moment as I watched Marc wind up the power cords and carefully gather both laptops.

We were both smiling, as Marc held his and his brother’s new laptops close to his chest.

My mind flashed back to the smile on the face of the woman with the EBT card, then to the tears, and the smile on the face of the once homeless woman, clutching her new tablet, as she waited for the bus.

It was dark as Marc and I hurried to get to the safety of our car.

On the way home, Marc was a flurry of joy and chatter…

“Mom, can you believe it? I can’t believe it! I can’t believe that Mr. Bradley was there… and we got these two identical laptops… and it was just what we had to spend! I can’t wait to use my new laptop and I can’t wait to give Rocky his! He’s never gonna believe this! Thank you mom!”

“You’re welcome, Marc.” I said, “Just know that when you give in life, you also receive in unexpected ways.”

“I know mom, I feel like that lady with the tablet did today, and it feels good!” He said.

“I’m glad, Marc.” I replied, “I hope that you always remember this day and all that you’ve learned.”

“I will, Mom. Can I be the one to give Rocky his laptop when we get inside?”

“Yes, Marc you can,” I said with a smile. “You definitely can.”

 

I can end this story here…

But sometimes stories don’t end, and certainly true giving never ends.

Get ready for the grand finale…

Part 4

Could you imagine doing something generous, for an ordinary person, who actually turned out to be a Nun…

Sometimes, you’re called to help another human being…

Or, unbeknownst to you… you may be the answer to one of their prayers.

Stay tuned for part 4!

Erin Cooper Reed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2: The Power Of Generosity – The Homeless Woman

“Mom, can we go and get the laptops now?” Marc asked on the way home.

“We have to go back to the apartment and get these groceries put away.” I replied.

“You don’t have enough money to get both of us laptops Mom, do you?” Rocky asked.

“I wasn’t expecting to buy laptops today… but I’ll figure it out.” I said, having no idea how I was going to make good on that statement.

“Maybe we can just go look around.” I added.

“Look around?” Rocky questioned, “We’re never going to be able to afford them. I’m not going with you.”

“I’m not going.” Kevin stated, “I have a laptop.”

Thankfully, Kevin did have a laptop that his grandparents had bought him for Christmas. I was so grateful for that, especially at this moment, when purchasing two laptops could have meant having to purchase three.

“Well, I’m going.” Marc said, “Everyone in my class has their own laptop, to go on the school portal and do their homework assignments.”

“Well, good luck with that.” Rocky added, “We need laptops, not tablets, and laptops are at least three hundred dollars apiece. I know mom can’t afford that!”

I started to feel sick to my stomach. Rocky was right. I didn’t have six hundred dollars, but I had managed to stash two hundred dollars away, in a hiding place in my room.

We unloaded the groceries from the car and put them away.

“Mom, can we go get the laptops now?” Marc asked.

When Marc gets something in his head, he is relentless, I thought.

Luckily, I also had a little bit of cash left over from grocery shopping. I went and grabbed the two hundred dollars I had hidden, and motioned to Marc, “Let’s go.”

Our first stop was Wal-Mart.

As Rocky had predicted, I couldn’t afford any of the laptops there.

We headed over to Best Buy. Maybe we could find something on sale.

I couldn’t afford anything there either.

Marc looked discouraged.

“Mom, we’re never going to be able to buy two laptops.” He sighed.

“Don’t give up hope yet, Marc!” I said, although I was thinking the same thing. “Let’s go to Job Lot.”

“Okay,” Marc agreed, not wanting to give up hope. “Do you think we can afford something there?”

“We’ll find out.” I said, as we parked the car and entered the store.

All of the electronics were displayed in the front of the store. We stood with our backs to the cash registers, staring at shelves of tablets. They didn’t have any laptops.

“It’s getting late,” I said. “Why don’t we just get two tablets. They’re less expensive and you can do the same things on a tablet that you can on a laptop.”

“They can’t be tablets, Mom.” Marc replied, “Our school said they have to be laptops.”

“Well, not everyone can afford laptops…” I began to say, when from behind me I heard the voice of the cashier…

“Ma’am you’re $36.00 short. Do you have another $36.00?”

I heard a woman’s voice reply, “That’s all I have. I don’t know what I’m going to do, I need this tablet for work tomorrow.”

Without turning around, I pulled $36.00 out of my pocket and passed it over my shoulder to the cashier.

The cashier completed the woman’s transaction, as Marc and I began to argue.

“Mom, why would you do that?” Marc said, raising his voice, “We don’t even have enough money and Rocky and I need laptops for school.”

“Marc, lower your voice.” I instructed, “We’ll get your laptops.”

Angrily, Marc turned and headed towards the exit of the store, as I quickened my pace to catch up with him.

“Marc, wait up!” I yelled.

A woman I had never seen before stood in front of Marc and stopped us both in our tracks… She was crying.

“I just want to thank you for what you did for me.” She said.

I realized it must have been the woman for whom I had just paid off the remainder of her purchase.

“I took the bus here,” she continued, “With the last bit of money that I had. I was homeless, and Wal-Mart was the only store that would take a chance on hiring me, although I didn’t get enough hours. Now I’m starting a new full-time job tomorrow but I need to have my own computer, that’s why I got the tablet.”

“You’re welcome.” I said, as I gave her a hug and she hugged me back tightly, “Good luck with your new job.”

Marc and I walked to the car in silence.

As we drove away, we both looked toward the bus stop. There stood the woman, waiting for a bus, holding the bag containing her new tablet. She looked happy.

Marc was the first to break the silence in the car.

“Mom, that was really nice what you did for that woman,” he said.

“Everything is Karma, Marc. It all comes back to you. Just follow your heart.” I replied.

“Okay, I get it. ” Marc said, “But how are we going to get two laptops?”

An idea popped into my head.

It was a long shot, and we were running out of time before the stores began to close, but I was determined to get my boys their laptops.

We would have to go to a bad section of town…

And it was starting to get dark.

Join me for Part 3,

The School Teacher

As the story continues…