A doting dad decides to temporarily leave his daughter at a shelter so he could work three jobs to secure their future. While working, he comes across an old friend who reveals that his child was actually not his.
“I promise, sweetheart. Give me a couple of months, and we will be reunited. Wait for daddy, alright?” Harry tearfully says to his daughter Mia.
“Don’t leave me here daddy, please! Where’s mommy? Leave me with mommy instead,” she cried.
“Your mom…” Harry hesitates. “Your mom has gone on a long business trip. I don’t know when she’ll be back,” he lied to spare his daughter the hurt. The truth was, his wife died a month ago after battling cancer.
He hugged his daughter tight and said he’d visit again the following day. “You promise?” Mia asked him.
“I promise,” Harry nodded, holding out his pinky for a pinky swear.
That night, Harry went to work at a warehouse where he was the night shift porter. He had finished another six hours of work and had two hours to rest in the locker room before going to his next job: the grocery store where he worked as a cashier.
While working there, he came across an old friend of his late wife Samantha. “Hey, Ava,” he greeted her. “How have you been?”
“Samantha told me that Mia was the man’s child, and not yours.”
Ava looked at him with guilt on her face, which puzzled Harry. “Hi Harry,” she replied. “How are you? Where’s Mia?” she asked.
Harry revealed that she had to leave Mia at a shelter while he worked three jobs. “Don’t worry,” he assured Ava. “I’m only going to work these jobs for a couple of months. Once I have enough money to pay off the house in full, I’m going to take her back and we’ll never be apart again.”
Ava asked Harry if he wanted to go out to lunch. “I have something to tell you. I should have told you a long time ago, but I was afraid of what Samantha would do to me,” she told him after inviting him to lunch.
“Of course,” Harry said. “Come on, let’s go to my favorite cafe,” he added, taking his apron off to take the hour-long lunch break.
While they were eating, Harry revealed that he had devoted himself to earning enough money to raise Mia alone. “Our savings were depleted trying to save Samantha,” he admitted. “We were only a couple of months away from paying off our house in full… but now I’ll be able to do that even quicker if I work non-stop.”
“You should take care of yourself, you know,” Ava said. “Working three jobs is not healthy at all.”
Harry shrugged. “I’d do anything for my daughter, even if it means not seeing her for a while because of it.”
“I’m sorry that this had to come from me,” Ava suddenly said. “But the truth is, seven years ago, Samantha got drunk at a bar and met a man. They started talking, and one thing led to another…”
At this point, Harry’s breath was getting shaky. He was sure he wasn’t ready to hear what Ava was about to say next.
“Samantha told me that Mia was the man’s child, and not yours. She didn’t want to tell you, because she saw how happy you were when you found out she was pregnant,” Ava revealed.
After the horrific news, Harry was too shaken to go back to work. He headed straight home, where he cried for hours. “What did I do to deserve this?” he yelled to no one in particular.
He had no relatives, his wife had cheated on him, and the daughter he loved so dearly was not actually his. Upon realizing this, he decided that it was probably better for Mia to be adopted by a wealthy family rather than go back and live with him.
For two years, Harry refused to visit the shelter. During this time, he was promoted to store manager where he once worked as a cashier. He was able to pay off his home and even purchased a small, inexpensive car.
While Harry was managing the store one day, he received a call from the shelter. “It’s about Mia,” the man on the other line revealed.
The man shared that Mia needed surgery and an urgent liver transplant. “If you’d like to be a donor, it’s best to get to the hospital as soon as you can,” he shared.
Although there was a pain in Harry’s chest hearing that Mia was suffering, he knew he wouldn’t be able to help. He headed to the hospital, where he revealed that he wasn’t her biological father.
“We can still test you, sir,” the nurse shared. “If you turn out to be a match, you can still donate to her if you want to.”
Harry realized he couldn’t live with himself if he let Mia die. He allowed for his blood to be taken, and it showed that he could become a donor.
“I’ll do it,” he said fearlessly. No matter how hard he tried to forget Mia, he still loved her and saw her as his daughter. After all, he had raised her.
That same day, the operation took place and was successful. Harry and Mia were placed in the same room, where they both recovered.
It was Harry who woke up first, and a nurse went to check on him immediately. “Congratulations, sir. You and your daughter are both well. She is very strong,” the nurse said.
“She’s not my daughter,” Harry said sadly. “I thought she was, but it turns out she wasn’t. I don’t even know who her father is, even though I was sure all my life that it was me,” he said.
The nurse had a sympathetic look on her face but decided to speak up about Harry’s plight. “Parents aren’t always those who gave birth to us, but those who raised us. It doesn’t matter whether or not your blood runs through Mia’s veins. The bottom line is, she’s your daughter,” she said.
Harry realized the nurse was right. Mia had always known him as her father, and that would never change. Likewise, she was his only daughter, and nothing was going to change that.
After they both recovered from their surgeries, Harry went to the shelter and processed Mia’s papers. “I’d like to take my daughter home,” he told the manager.
Upon hearing this, Mia couldn’t help but cry and she embraced her father with all her might. “I love you so much, dad. I missed you.”
What can we learn from this story?
Family doesn’t always mean blood. Harry was angry after finding out that his wife had cheated on him, and took it out on Mia by not picking her up from the shelter as promised. In the end, he realized that wasn’t right and that he still loved Mia as his daughter.
Children should not be punished for their parents’ mistakes. It was Mia who had to live with the consequences of her mom’s infidelity, as she was forced to spend two years at a shelter without family.