“Why are we bringing groceries for Mrs. Killinger?” Bobby inquired of his mother, Anna, as they strolled back from the supermarket with a few additional bags intended for their elderly neighbor. He enjoyed assisting his mother with these errands, but since they had never purchased anything for any neighbor before, he decided to ask as they approached Mrs. Killinger’s house.
Bobby noticed that Mrs. Killinger’s front yard had overgrown grass, and the mailbox was overflowing. It dawned on him that his mother was right and that the older woman required assistance.
“Honey, Mrs. Killinger is having difficulty moving around now, so I offered to bring her some things from the market,” Anna explained as they ascended the wooden steps to Mrs. Killinger’s house and rang the doorbell.
“Oh, but she could just get a wheelchair and move around,” the boy suggested, as if it were the simplest solution in the world. Several kids at his school used wheelchairs and seemed to lead normal lives.
“It’s not so simple to adapt to a wheelchair at an older age, honey. Besides, Mrs. Killinger doesn’t have the financial means to buy one at the moment. They can be quite expensive,” Anna clarified, and Bobby pursed his lips contemplatively.
Mrs. Killinger greeted them at the door with a warm smile and invited them in for some coffee and cookies. Bobby observed how slowly she moved, and an idea began to take shape in his mind. He excitedly shared his idea with the older woman and his mother, who grinned at him indulgently.
Neither of them had expected Bobby to come up with such a plan.
To Anna’s surprise, the next day Bobby had created several advertisements. “Mom, can you include your phone number here so people can call me for work?” he asked eagerly.
“Oh, honey, this is incredibly thoughtful of you. But I’m not sure if it will be enough to raise the money she needs,” Anna explained. She admired her son’s compassionate nature but didn’t want him to be disappointed if no one responded or if he couldn’t gather enough funds.
“Well, at least I can say that I did my best to help,” Bobby chirped, his bright smile and eager eyes shining. Anna nodded and added her phone number to the ads, making sure to check Bobby’s spelling to ensure others understood what he was offering.
In his advertisement, Bobby offered a range of “services,” which included assisting with shopping, mowing lawns, providing companionship, and walking dogs. He left the pricing of his services up to the discretion of the neighbors, a detail that brought a smile to Anna’s face. Bobby’s genuine intention was simply to help.
“Let’s go hang them up!” he cheered, seizing his mother’s hand, and they ventured outside.
Anna aided him in putting up the ads throughout their suburban neighborhood in Utah. The people in the area were generally kind, but she couldn’t be certain if anyone would take Bobby’s offer.
Upon their return home, Anna began receiving calls from her friends who were curious about the ads. She explained everything to them, including Mrs. Killinger’s need for a new wheelchair, which motivated Bobby to take on these various jobs.
Fortunately, many people started hiring Bobby, which brought him great delight. He walked Mr. Cotton’s dog every afternoon after school, mowed Mrs. Gillis’ yard while assisting her with planting new flowers, and helped Mr. Francis carry his groceries. He also willingly assisted Mrs. Killinger with her tasks without charging a fee.
Bobby was in high spirits, but after two weeks of dedicated work, he realized he was still far from reaching the goal. Anna had helped him search for a wheelchair, and they discovered one that cost nearly $500.
“Mom, what else can I do?” Bobby asked, his voice filled with determination.
“Honey, earning money can be challenging. That’s why your dad is often away. But I am incredibly proud of you. Let me make some calls and see if there’s more work available. I’ll also contribute myself. We can make this happen,” Anna reassured him, reaching for her phone. “Oh, but don’t forget, you need to walk Mr. Cotton’s dog.”
“Oh, right!” Bobby sprang to his feet, swiftly put on his jacket, and opened the front door. However, Anna noticed that the door didn’t close and turned to see Bobby standing there, his gaze fixed on the floor. Suddenly, he leaned down.
“Bobby, what’s wrong? Did we receive a package?” Anna inquired, walking over to him with concern.
“MOM! It’s an envelope with money! Oh my god! I think this might be enough for the wheelchair!” Bobby exclaimed, his eyes wide with delight. He handed the envelope to Anna, who frowned.
“Well, it’s certainly more than enough, Bobby, but…” She hesitated, turning the envelope around to search for a return address or some clue. However, there was nothing to indicate its origin. “I don’t think we can keep it. We don’t know who left it here.”
“It must be a neighbor! Someone else wanted to help too!” the little boy insisted, nodding at his mother. However, Anna shook her head, and Bobby suddenly had a cartoon-like moment of inspiration, raising his finger.
“Let’s check the camera!” he exclaimed.
Anna smiled at her clever son. It was the simplest solution. She quickly retrieved her phone and accessed the app displaying the footage from their Ring camera. She reviewed the recordings for any activity that occurred in the hours after they returned home.
It turned out to be Mr. Finnegan, a new neighbor across the street whom they hadn’t officially met. He had dropped the envelope on their floor and returned to his house. Anna felt compelled to find out why and whether it was intentional, so she took Bobby’s hand, and together they approached Mr. Finnegan’s house. At the very least, they wanted to express their gratitude for such a generous gift.
Mr. Finnegan appeared slightly embarrassed that they had caught him on camera, as he hadn’t sought any praise or acknowledgment for his act of kindness. But Anna still wanted to thank him.
“You did something so selfless for a complete stranger. Why?” Anna asked, her smile directed at their neighbor, with Bobby standing proudly beside her.
“Well, your young son is working tirelessly to raise that money on his own, even when he doesn’t have to. Why do we help others in need? It’s because of the goodness in our hearts. A desire to create a better world, I suppose,” Mr. Finnegan explained, shrugging his shoulders. “And, to be honest, I thought it would be a great way to break the ice with the neighbors I haven’t met yet. My wife and I aren’t the most social people, so I thought it was a good opportunity.”
Anna smiled warmly at Mr. Finnegan and extended an invitation for him and his wife to join them for dinner that evening. She also invited Mrs. Killinger so they could all meet and share in the kindness that had transpired. A few days later, they presented their grateful elderly neighbor with a brand new wheelchair, which moved her to tears.
From that moment forward, Bobby understood the immense joy of giving and doing good for others, far outweighing any material possessions. He also gained a profound appreciation for the value of hard work and never took anything he had for granted.