Sean knew that there were a lot of people in the world who were in worse situations than he was. Despite that, he was feeling down today. After his wife died of cancer, he was a single dad raising three kids on his own. Things got worse when he had to sell his house to pay for his wife’s medical bills, and he eventually lost his job because of all the time he had to spend taking care of his sick wife.
Because of how expensive it is to live in Oakland, Sean couldn’t afford to rent an apartment. He and his kids had to live in a tent city instead. It was a nightmare, and he had no idea that his life would go in that direction. Each day seemed worse than the last, and since he didn’t have a job, he felt helpless.
Sean could only work part-time in the mornings while his kids were at school. In an expensive city like Oakland, this wasn’t enough to make ends meet. Also, he was still having trouble paying off some of his debts. The woman who lived in the tent next to them was kind and offered to watch the kids for an hour after school, but that wasn’t enough to meet their needs.
“What? That’s not possible. My kids. Look at me. I’m…nothing.”
Sean was in a tough spot. He needed a job that would allow him to take care of his kids and make money at the same time. Even though he felt hopeless, he kept going about his daily life, barely making enough money to take care of his children. He often skipped meals so that they would have enough to eat.
On this day, Sean left work and went to the gas station closest to him. He had a little extra money, so he bought himself a cheap hot dog before picking up his kids from school. As he got close to the station, he saw a man trying very hard to calm down a woman and a child in the passenger seat.
Sean didn’t want to get in the way, but he couldn’t help but notice that the couple was upset. Just as he was about to keep going, the man called out to him.
“Sir! Sir!” He yelled and ran toward Sean.
Sean looked back and asked, “Is everything all right?”
The man looked at Sean with desperate eyes and said, “Sir, I’m sorry to bother you, but my wife is in labor and we’re out of gas. We were in a hurry to get out of the house, so I left my wallet and phone at home. Can you help me in any way?”
As Sean listened to the man’s plea, he felt a tug at his heart. Even though he was having trouble himself, he knew he couldn’t just leave them when they were in trouble.
Sean pursed his lips and wrinkled his brow as he thought about what to do. “Well, sir. “I only have $2, but you can have it,” he finally said, pulling the bills out of his pocket.
“Thank you! Thank you! That’s good. “I had a few coins in the car, but with this I can fill up a gallon and get to the hospital,” Matthew said, taking the money gratefully. “Please tell me how to reach you so I can pay you back.”
Sean gave a head shake. “No, you don’t need to do that. He said with a smile, “I just hope your wife and baby get to the hospital safely.”
But Matthew kept saying, “Please, I’ll pay you back.”
Sean finally said, “Okay, then,” and gave Matthew his phone number.
Sean couldn’t help but think that if they were that desperate, they must have run out of gas completely. He watched Matthew fill up his car and speed out of the gas station. He thought about the strong feelings that come with giving birth, and he realized how priorities change in times of trouble.
Even though he had given away his only extra money, Sean felt good about himself as he left the gas station. Even though he didn’t eat that day, at least he helped a family in need.
The next morning, when it was still early, the sun was shining brightly through the tent. He would have slept a little longer if the phone hadn’t gone off. It turned out to be a video call from Matthew, who said, “Sean! Hello!” with almost too much energy for Sean’s sleepy state.
“Hey, Matthew,” said Sean as he rubbed his eyes.
“Our child is here! Look!” Matthew yelled and held up the baby so Sean could see it.
“Congratulations!” Sean answered with a smile as his own kids woke up and moved closer to the camera. Their single dad had told them about the new baby, so they also wanted to congratulate the new dad.
“Listen, Sean, I need you to come to my office at noon. Matthew said in a serious voice, “I have something to tell you.”
“Noon? Well, I think so, but I have to go pick up my kids in a few minutes.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long today,” Matthew said, giving him an address in downtown.
“I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you did yesterday. Matthew said to Sean in his office, “I could tell that giving away those two dollars was a big deal for you, and I’m grateful for it.” This made Sean feel good. He didn’t know that the man he helped owned a business, and he wondered if he could ask him for a job.
“Thank you, sir. “I’m a dad, so I know what it’s like to go through labor with your wife,” Sean said, smiling even though he was thinking about his late wife.
Matthew told him, “Tell me more about your life and family.” After he thought about it for a moment, Sean told him about his struggles with his wife’s illness, her death, losing their home, and where they are living now.
“Because I have to take care of my kids, I can only work part-time now. We haven’t been given any help from the government, so it’s been hard,” Sean said, biting his lip.
“You said you used to run a business, right?” Matthew was curious.
“Yes, at my last job I was the senior regional manager, but I had to step down when my wife got pregnant,” Sean confirmed.
“What do you think? Run this business?” Matthew said it straight.
“What? I wasn’t able to do that. My kids. Look at me. “But I’m… nothing!” Sean argued.
Matthew replied with confidence, “We’ll figure something out.”
“What kind of position in management is it?” Sean was interested. This offer was better than anything he could have thought of.
“Actually, I’d like you to buy it. I’m growing, and I need a partner more than anything. We’ll own it together. I like how you act, and I trust my gut when it comes to people. What do you say?” Sean couldn’t say anything when Matthew made the offer.
“I don’t think I can refuse such an offer, but wouldn’t it be better to have a partner with more money?” Sean couldn’t believe how kind the offer was.
“Money? Really? Before you came along, a rich man in a fancy Lexus refused to give me a few dollars for gas, Matthew said with a raised eyebrow. “Just a few dollars that wouldn’t even make a dent in his bank account. You, on the other hand, gave me all the food you had that day. That means more to me than any amount of money that some random investor could bring in. I don’t just want more money; I also want to give my business more heart. I want you.”
Sean couldn’t believe how lucky he was and said, “Thank you.” Matthew smiled and shook his hand.
Soon, Sean started working as one of the new owners and was even allowed to bring his children to the office. With the extra money from his great salary, he found a great apartment for his family and things started to get back to normal.
He also helped people in the tent city find better jobs, like the neighbor who helped him with his kids a lot.
Sean excelled in his job, and while the pa-in of his wife’s passing would never go away, he had something to work toward. He got his hope back, and his kids didn’t have to live in poverty anymore. Life was again good.