While cleaning the runway, a poor janitor came across an abandoned baby in a stroller and adopted her. But 16 years later, on her 18th birthday, things got complicated when her mother appeared on his doorstep and demanded her back.
Henry, 41, was a widowed father of four children who worked as a janitor at the airport to provide for them. Because they lived paycheck to paycheck, sometimes money was scarce, and Henry struggled to make ends meet.
Fortunately, Henry’s co-workers were kind enough to donate their children’s outgrown clothing and toys to Henry’s kids, and their wives would frequently send meals too. Because Henry refused to accept money, they found other ways to help him.
One day, Henry was sweeping the runway after flight landing when he came across an abandoned stroller. He stopped in his tracks to inspect it and found a girl, who looked to be about two, sleeping calmly inside.
“How could someone be so rash and leave their child here?” he wondered, looking around. There were no elders around, and he wondered how the authorities had missed the stroller on the runway.
He gently pushed the stroller towards the security office, where authorities summoned the cops. While the police were on the way, Henry decided to return to work, but as he was about to leave, the girl started crying, compelling Henry to stay.
“Henry Pate? I’m Ayleen Morales. You took in my daughter 15 years ago, and I’m here to get her back.”
“Mawmy? Whey you?” the girl pined, crying and moving desperately in her stroller, trying to find her mom in the airport crowd.
Henry scooped her in his arms to console her. “Your mom will be here soon, darling,” he said. “Don’t worry.”
Eventually, the little girl stopped crying, but she kept looking out for her mother with longing eyes. Henry’s eyes, too, were fixated on the crowd, but he didn’t see any woman approaching them.
A couple of minutes later, the cops arrived, and an announcement about the lost girl was made, but no woman ever turned up looking for her child. When the cops asked her about her parents, she couldn’t say much except hinting her dad was dead and she was with her mother.
At that moment, Henry knew he couldn’t leave the girl alone. As a father, his heart went out to her. Though he knew it was going to do would be hard, he decided to take her in.
He told the cops he had four children and that he was willing to take care of the girl. The cops were reluctant at first, but after checking his ID and gathering more information about him, they allowed him to take the girl home for the night, and CPS would take her the next day. Henry was fine with it.
On the way home, Henry stopped by the grocery to buy some food and diapers for the girl. At home, Henry’s kids were excited to meet her, and she was happy too.
That night, Henry and his kids had dinner together with the little girl, and one of his children read her stories until she was asleep.
While she slept peacefully, Henry couldn’t take his mind off her. He was worried about what would happen if her mom didn’t turn up. He knew sending the girl to a shelter would be awful, so he started thinking about the possibility of adopting her. And by the next morning, he was sure.
But when CPS arrived the next morning, the social worker was hesitant to leave the girl with him. Only after hours of persuasion and Henry convincing them that he’d look after her did they give him consent to keep her. But they allowed it only on the grounds that he obtained foster parent status and passed the background check, both of which he did.
Months went by, and sadly, the police investigation produced no results. The little girl’s mom was not found, so in the end, Henry legally adopted her. He called her Blessie as he considered her a blessing. Little did he know about the problem that awaited him…
Henry and his children adored Blessie. The kids helped him change Blessie’s poopy diapers and even took turns feeding and bathing her. With each passing day, Blessie quickly adapted to Henry’s family.
Henry’s supervisor had increased his pay, so his finances were in better shape, and he could better care for his children. And after a few years, he was offered a better job with a higher salary. Everything seemed to be going well in Henry’s life until an unexpected knock on the door on Blessie’s 18th birthday changed everything.
On his doorstep stood a woman in expensive attire and gleaming stilettos, and his heart sank as he saw how much she resembled Blessie.
“Henry Pate? I’m Ayleen Morales. You took in my daughter 16 years ago, and I’m here to get her back. I need my money from her!” she said, and Henry felt like his whole world came crashing down around him.
“You’re here for her? Where were you all these years? Get lost before I call the cops! She’s got nothing to do with your money!”
The woman started laughing, and Henry was stunned by her bravado. “Oh, Henry. It’s alright. Don’t get too worked up about it. Look, at that time, I wasn’t thinking straight. I wasn’t ready for motherhood…A woman’s life cannot be just about her children. Now I’d like to have her back.”
“Have her back?” retorted Henry. “Listen, miss. My daughter is not a commodity that you can leave whenever you want and then come here to claim. I took her in legally, and she has nothing to do with you!!”
“All right,” she said. “How about we make a deal here? You keep her, and I keep the money. She is due to inherit $3 million from my late husband, and I want it all for me. She could accompany me to the lawyer’s office and sign the documents, and you could have her. This is the lawyer’s address,” she said and she handed him the business card. “Visit him, and you’ll know….”
Henry was shocked.
Thankfully, Blessie was not home when Ayleen visited, so things ended there, and Ayleen left. But later that evening, when Blessie got home, she guessed from his pale face that something wasn’t right, and he had to tell her everything eventually.
“So what, dad? I’m not going anywhere with her. You’re my family. Why did you even put up with her?”
“Oh, I don’t know, honey. She was all about the money. It seems your father left you something huge, and she wants it. She left the lawyer’s contact details.”
Blessie was in tears. “Great! She abandoned me, and now she’s after the money! Well, ok. I’m not giving her a dime from it! But I will visit the lawyer….”
Blessie wanted to know more about her father because she barely had memories of him, and she wondered if the lawyer would be able to help her. She visited the lawyer’s office the next day with Henry, but the truth broke her from the inside.
It turned out her father, Ronald, was a rich man, and Ayleen had married him just for money. She never wanted to give birth to Blessie, but she had to pretend to be a good mother because she wanted to be in Ronald’s good books.
Unfortunately, Ronald died in a car crash soon after Blessie turned 2, but before passing away, he had changed his will, which Ayleen didn’t know.
When she found out she wasn’t a part of the will and that Blessie would receive his assets when she turned 18, she was furious. By then, she’d left Blessie in the runaway and moved abroad with her boyfriend. She decided to wait until Blessie was 18 to find her, and it was only 16 years after abandoning her that she managed to.
“She deserves to rot in hell!” Blessie cried upon hearing everything. “I will hate her all my life! She wants the money?! Huh, she’s not going to get anything….”
Eventually, Blessie didn’t sign the papers for inheritance denunciation, so the money was transferred to her and Henry. Ayleen tried reaching out to them, but she eventually stopped when they reported her to the cops.
“I am so glad I found you, dad,” Blessie told Henry one night. “Can you believe my mother came back into my life just coz she wanted the money? I hate her!”
“But you shouldn’t,” Henry told her. “You see, the bad things in life make us realize the importance of the good ones. If it weren’t for her being so evil, I wouldn’t have found a daughter like you. I love you, honey. I am so glad to have you too,” he added as they hugged.
What can we learn from this story?
A true mother would never leave her child—for nothing, not even millions. Though Ayleen gave birth to Blessie, she was never a mother to her. Ultimately, she got what she deserved—nothing.
A heart that gives love receives love. Henry adopted Blessie and raised her even though he wasn’t so rich. Growing up, Blessie appreciated that, and she felt blessed to have a father like him.
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