A store owner is confused after a neatly-dressed boy approaches him for work in exchange for food, so he decides to follow him. After learning the boy’s dad is a millionaire, he thinks there’s more to the boy’s story, so when the boy comes to his store the next day, he confronts him.
Jack Mason helped unload the new consignment items that had arrived that morning and stacked them in plies with the assistance of delivery boys. As a grocery store owner in Ohio, Jack’s Wednesday mornings were spent collecting fresh goods through the store’s back entrance and arranging them before he opened his shop.
That day, after receiving the goods, Jack thanked the delivery boys and was about to head to the store’s front entrance when a child’s voice got his attention.
“Excuse me, sir,” the voice said. “Can I get a job here in exchange for food?”
Jack turned around and saw a young, neatly-dressed boy, no older than 10, standing behind him. He didn’t appear homeless or impoverished, so Jack wondered why he would ask for a job in his store.
“Uh, you want a job for what?”
“I am not asking you to pay me, but I need food, and I will do anything you ask me. I’m Benny,” he introduced himself.
“Look, kid,” Jack said. “I don’t know…honestly, you don’t look like someone who needs a job. What’s going on here?”
“How about you first tell me if I can get a job here? I don’t have time to waste,” he replied bluntly.
Jack looked at him from head to toe and deliberated. “Alright, alright, don’t get too worked up about it. Um, can you arrange vegetables on the shelf?”
“Alright then,” Jack sighed. “Come on in. This way….”
Benny followed Jack into the store, where Jack instructed him what to do. As Benny started placing veggies on the shelf, Jack looked at him intently from behind his counter. He was still confused as to why a boy who seemed well-off would work in his store in exchange for food. He approached Benny again when he couldn’t resist the temptation to find out why.
“You followed me?” Benny looked at Jack accusingly. “Why?”
“So, do you live nearby? Does your family, um, need any sort of help?” he asked Benny casually.
“I live around this neighborhood,” he answered. “My dad doesn’t give me food. He says I need to man up and take care of myself, so here I am working at your store. Is there anything I need to do after I’m done arranging these?” Benny asked, arranging the last shelf.
“No, I think this is enough for the first day. Come to the counter and collect your food once you’re done….”
Benny finished his work diligently and got his food before he left the store that day. Jack was worried that Benny’s father could be mistreating him, so he decided to follow the young boy that day.
Jack asked his staff to look after the store, got in his car, and followed Benny at a safe distance so the boy wouldn’t notice. After a couple of minutes, he saw Benny heading to a deserted area with nothing but old buildings in close sight.
Jack pulled over when he saw Benny stop in front of a dilapidated house. He expected Benny to go inside, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the boy left the food outside the house and walked away.
“Why would he just leave the food there?” Jack wondered. He started his engine and continued following Benny. After around 15 minutes, Benny stopped in front of a luxurious house with a massive garden, and Jack saw that several people were busy working in the house’s compound.
Such a house could only be afforded by a rich man, probably a millionaire, Jack thought.
When the gardener saw Benny, he greeted him, and Benny went inside the house. Jack realized that Benny had not taken the food for himself. He lied about his father mistreating him. He wanted to know the truth, so when Benny came to his store the next day, he confronted him.
“So….” he began while Benny was arranging the vegetable shelf. “Did you like the food I gave you yesterday, Benny?
“Yeah, it was fine….” Benny replied monotonously. “I think I’ll be done sooner today. If I do extra work, do I get extra food?”
“Well, you can get as much food as you want, Benny, if you are honest with me and tell me why you left the food in front of an old house yesterday. How about that?”
“You followed me?” Benny looked at Jack accusingly. “Why?”
“Well, yeah, I did, so it’ll be better if you tell me what’s going on. Why are you working here? See, you can be honest with me, and I promise I will help you.”
Benny dropped his head and sighed, finally admitting the truth. “I am not doing this for myself,” he said. “I’m doing this for a friend. He needs help. Come with me. I’ll show you….”
That day, Benny took Jack to the old house and introduced him to a little boy named Harry. Harry was 5 years old, and he was impoverished. Harry and Benny met for the first time while Harry was begging on the streets, and Benny wanted to help him, so he brought him food and clothes. But his dad forbade him to do so.
“You better stay away from the outside dirt, Benny! You are not helping him! Don’t forget you’re a millionaire’s son!”
But Benny didn’t listen to his dad. “I took up the job so I could help Harry. He has no one to look after him. His mom is sick and his dad died several years ago….”
Jack felt terrible for Harry and was proud that Benny was thoughtful enough to help someone in need.
He thought for a while and came up with an idea. He employed Harry at his store and assigned him easy tasks like arranging the shelves and carrying the garbage to the trash, and in exchange, he gave him generous compensation and food.
Benny continued to help Jack at the store too, and for his work, he asked Jack to donate food to Harry from his side.
With time, Benny, Harry, and Jack became good friends. Jack sometimes enjoyed treating the boys to ice cream after work, and on weekends, they would play football at their neighborhood park.
A little kindness goes a long way, and Jack, Benny, and Harry know this to be true.
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