A man finds an abandoned baby in the dark alley he lives in and saves her life, and many years later his kindness is rewarded.
Some children are born into a cradle of gold, cherished, loved, and wanted. Others are not so fortunate. One late fall afternoon, Jeffrey Miller, 37 and self-confessed drunk, found one of the unfortunate ones.
He was walking into the alley where he usually slept away his afternoons when he heard a strange sound. At first, he thought it was a cat, but as he drew closer, he realized it was a baby crying! There was a baby lying next to the dumpster on a pile of dead leaves.
Jeffrey was stunned. A baby? Here? Who’d leave a baby next to a dumpster in an alley where rats could get at it? Quickly he picked up the child and saw that it was very young, maybe just days old.
“Oh,” cried Jeffrey rocking the whimpering child. “Oh, we are in trouble…” He didn’t know what to do. Jeffrey had been raised in foster care after his parents died, and he had been very unlucky.
For Jeffrey, handing the baby to Child Services would be like sending it to certain torture. “What can I do?” he asked the baby, who just yawned at him. So he went to a shelter he knew and spoke to the nun who ran it.
He told her the baby was his, that he’d had a relationship with a homeless woman who had now abandoned the child, and he asked her for help, for formula and diapers. For the first few months, Jeffrey managed to keep the baby clean and fed, but then winter arrived.
How could he keep such a small baby in the streets in winter? Then he had an idea. Every day, he panhandled outside a big Wall Street firm, and there was a tall thin woman who always gave him money and said a few kind words.
Jeffery decided that she would be the perfect mother for his baby. He walked up to her. “Hello,” he said. “Would you take my baby, please? It’s getting so cold, I’m afraid she’ll die.”
We all need something to believe in, something to give us hope.
The woman he had chosen was Debra Silvester, a high-powered financial consultant, single and with no children. She looked from Jeffrey’s desperate bearded face to the baby’s sweet smile.
“I can’t take a baby…” Debra gasped.
“Please,” said Jeffrey, “Her name is Julia, and she’s lovely.” Jeffrey shoved the baby into Debra’s arms and started walking away.
“Wait!” cried Debra. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Jeffrey,” he said. “You can tell her Jeffrey Miller loved her!”
That night, Jeffrey huddled in the shelter with empty arms and found that he had tears running down his face. “I did the right thing,” he whispered. “What does a man like me have to offer a baby?”
Jeffery’s life didn’t get any easier after he gave Debra the baby. When he had Julia, he had stopped drinking, but now he took up his old addiction again. Things went from bad to worse, and sixteen years later, Jeffrey believed he was at the end of the road.
He was sleeping huddled under a bridge in Central Park one afternoon when someone shone a flashlight in his face. “Jeffrey? Jeffrey Miller?” asked a young voice.
He held up a hand to shield his eyes. It was a young, beautiful girl, with big, golden eyes and a gentle smile. “I used to be Jeffrey Miller,” he said. “And who are you?”
The girl gave a happy cry and threw her arms around him. “I’m Julia, I’m the baby you saved, and I’m here with my mother!”
Then Julia told Jeffrey her story. Debra had decided to keep Julia, and adopted her, but never told her. One day, when she was looking for old photos for a school project, Julia found the adoption papers.
It was then that Debra told her about Jeffery Miller, the man who had saved her and struggled to keep her safe and healthy on the New York streets.
“Mom, we have to find him!” cried Julia. “We have to help him as he helped me!” And so had begun a search of every homeless shelter and halfway house in New York, and now they had finally found him.
But Jeffrey shook his head. “It’s no good Julia, I’m too old and broken to change.”
Julia looked him right in the eye. “Don’t you dare give up on yourself, Jeffrey Miller, because I’m not giving up on you!”
Debra got Jeffrey into a rehab facility, and when he came out three months later he was a different man. Debra got him a job and found him a little apartment all his own.
It wasn’t easy, of course, but Jeffrey had Julia with him every step of the way, making sure he stayed on the wagon. Jeffrey Miller was a changed man. He finally had something to live for: a family, hope, and love.
What can we learn from this story?
We all need something to believe in, something to give us hope. While he was looking after the baby, Jeffrey had something to live for and he stayed sober.
Sometimes the kindness we give to others comes back tenfold. Julia came looking for Jeffrey and ended up saving him just like he had saved her.
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