Kind Girl Gave Me $100 When I Was Homeless, Years Later I Paid for Her Daughter’s Vital Surgery – Story of the Day

A homeless man received some money from a girl at a lemonade stand, and it changed his entire life. Years later, he returned to her house only to discover that the girl was now a struggling mother. That’s when he decided to repay her kindness another way.


“There are many ways people become homeless. You don’t think that the decisions you make when you’re young, the people you hang out with, or your actions can ruin your life. But they can,” I recounted, sighing and sipping some lemonade.

“I was an idiot as a teenager and even worse as an adult, and then, I was alone, lost, in pain, and cut off from anyone who used to love me. I lost it all, and now, here I am, and it’s like I can’t get out of this…”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

After a few more minutes, I finished my pitying rant and the cup of lemonade a little girl had offered me for free from her little stand. I told her I was homeless, and she asked why. I’m sure she didn’t expect the diatribe I took. But, well, what can you do?

“Here,” I heard her little voice and turned. “Take it.”

My eyes went to her hands, holding a wad of bills. “That’s your money,” I shook my head.

“You need it more than me,” the girl insisted and shrugged. “Use it to change your life. Mommy says that a little money can push you to do good things. I don’t know if that’s true, but I hope this helps.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

I stared at that wad of bills for a while, but I took them eventually. I went to my usual spot in an alley and slept, thinking of what I could do with it. Normally, if I ever got a hold of some cash, I would spend it quickly. But something about those bills stopped me from my typical ways. I couldn’t spend them willy-nilly. They had to mean something. I had to change my life.

I did.


Twenty years later, I was a completely different man. I had found someone who let me work in construction and rented me a room for almost nothing. It was a godsend. I worked, worked, worked, never straying from my ultimate goal. I eventually got a GED and went to community college. Finally, I became the owner of a contractor business, and I was making more money than I had ever imagined.


For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

I got married and had a son. But I never spent the $100 that the little girl gave me. I found them one day in a random drawer at home and thought about finally using them. I still couldn’t. So, I got in my car and drove to her house, surprising even myself as I still remembered where she lived.

It was a quiet neighborhood in North Carolina, and I wondered if she would be there. It was her parent’s house, after all. But I thought I would ask.

To my shock, she answered the door. “Can I help you?”

I cleared my throat and explained as best I could what had happened in the past. She looked at me confused, but then she nodded. “I think I remember. I was saving for a bike or something. But I gave you all my money,” the woman said. “What are you doing here?”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

“I was actually hoping to return that money,” I continued, reaching into my pocket to take out the bills. “I never used it. They’re the same bills and everything. But this money did change my life. It pushed me, as you said.”


“Why don’t you come in?” she offered. “My name is Penelope, by the way.”

“Mark,” I said and walked in. We talked for a long time, drinking lemonade – if you can believe it. But at some point, she sighed, looking at the wad of bills I had placed on her coffee table.

“Money…money is the worst. It is already a huge problem in my life, especially now,” Penelope revealed, making me frown.

“What’s going on?”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

She told me her baby daughter was sick, and they didn’t have insurance. She had to move back with her parents to this house because her daughter’s father had walked away.

“We’re getting deeper into medical debt, and it’s a hole I don’t think I’ll ever get out of. My daughter now needs surgery, but I have to start paying, or they won’t do anything,” she explained and looked at me apologetically. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to burden you with my problems. I mean, you probably had it worse than me. Others have it worse always. I should be thankful.”

“Yes, I had a bad time, but that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel what you feel,” I assured her, and after a few minutes, I said goodbye.

The $100 was not enough repayment. I knew what I had to do. I sent her a check and a letter explaining what it was and begged her to accept it. She did because her daughter was more important.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

She wrote me back through email, detailing how well her girl was doing and how the surgery had been a life-changer. After reading those words, I knew my debt was finally settled. Yes, I technically gave her more money than she ever gave me, but she had changed my life with her kindness. I was sure her daughter would grow up to be just as selfless as her, and the world needed more people like Penelope.

What can we learn from this story?

  • You should try to repay the kindness you receive. Mark looked for the girl years later and discovered the best way to repay her past compassion.
  • One selfless gesture can change someone’s life. The little girl didn’t think much about giving away all her money, but it was a life-changing decision for Mark.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a poor boy who paid for a beggar’s meal, and his dad later received a ton of money for his wife’s surgery.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to


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