When Steve’s mother fell ill, he begged Mr. Jones for money for her surgery, but the older man refused as he was already cranky that day. Years later, the roles were reversed when Steve became a surgeon, and Mr. Jones couldn’t believe what the younger man did.
Mr. Sebastian Jones had just discovered that his daughter, Zoe, was pregnant at 17. He was livid at his daughter for doing something so stupid, mainly because everyone in Fort Worth, Texas, respected their family so much.
“You are not leaving this house until the birth of that baby, and you’re giving it up for adoption! Do you understand, young lady?” the older man yelled at his daughter. She scowled at him and stomped up to her room with his wife following behind.
Mr. Jones ran his hand through his graying hair in frustration. She’s an educated young lady. Why was she so stupid? he thought angrily. But his inner musings stopped when the doorbell rang. He hoped it was not the baby daddy or Mr. Jones might do something drastic.
“Oh, hello, Steve. What are you doing here?” Mr. Jones greeted Zoe’s classmate, who stood just outside the door. “Zoe can’t see you right now. She’s busy.”
“Hello, Mr. Jones,” Steve began. “I was hoping to speak to you, sir. It’ll only take a second.”
“Ugh…I don’t have a lot of time today,” Mr. Jones said. He was not in the mood to entertain anyone after what his daughter had revealed.
“I’ll be quick, sir. My mother is at the hospital right now. The doctors said she has a heart condition and needs immediate surgery. But my family is not wealthy at all. I was hoping….” Steve explained before Mr. Jones interrupted him.
“You came here to ask for money?” the older man asked almost angrily. Mr. Jones was usually generous, as he was raised with extreme wealth and his mother taught him to give back. But today was not a good day to ask anything of him.
“Yes, sir. I hoped—”
“Get out of my front porch and never come back!” Mr. Jones screamed at Steve. The teenager tried to plead his case, but the older man threatened to call the cops, so he left.
A few days later, Steve’s mother died. The family couldn’t raise the funds to save her, and paperwork for government assistance took longer than they imagined.
From then on, the young man vowed to become the best doctor in the country. He would not deny urgent medical attention to uninsured, low-income patients, no matter what anyone said.
As the years went on, Steve grew resentful of the American Healthcare System, which allowed his mother to die. He wanted to lobby with politicians to change things for everyone, but he needed to become a great doctor first. Curiously, he never blamed Mr. Jones for denying him the money. Despite the older man’s harsh treatment, it was not his fault at all.
But Mr. Jones didn’t know. Over the years, he felt guilty about his actions that terrible night. Steve was a good boy, and his mother didn’t deserve to die because of money. Alas, the older man couldn’t change the past and had to live with regret forever.
Furthermore, Zoe barely spoke to him anymore. He forced her to give her baby up, and she didn’t want anything to do with her father since then, although he apologized years later for that decision.
Mr. Jones was surprised when she called him at the age of 30. She was engaged to a respectable man and was pregnant again. “I’m tired of this fight. You have apologized enough already. I want my father back. And you have to meet my future husband,” she told him.
Mrs. Jones was so excited about this reunion. She had kept a relationship with her daughter, but it was always strained after the adoption, having supported Mr. Jones in the end. “See? I told you she would return to us,” she told her husband.
They decided to meet up at the Joneses’ house, but the worst happened. A truck driver hit Zoe’s car on the way. Her fiancé, Louis, who didn’t suffer any significant injuries, called and told them to come to John Peter Smith Hospital.
“Louis, where is my daughter?” Mr. Jones asked desperately when they got to the hospital. Mrs. Jones was right beside him already in tears.
“The doctors are in there with her. But no one has come out to explain anything yet. I don’t know,” Louis cried.
“Don’t worry, son. It’ll be alright. My daughter’s a fighter!” Mr. Jones comforted. His wife hugged Louis as they all tried to find comfort in each other.
“I was driving so carefully. Zoe was so excited to see you again. She’s so kind, so forgiving, and so cheerful. What am I going to do without her?” Louis sobbed. Mr. Jones understood him completely. He couldn’t believe that his chance to make up for the past might be lost forever.
Just then, a doctor exited the room. Mr. Jones looked up, and his eyes flared. “Steve? Is that you?” he asked, shocked.
“Yes, Mr. Jones, hello,” Steve answered, looking again at the chart in his hands. “I’m Zoe’s doctor.”
“Steve, how is my daughter?” Mr. Jones asked desperately.
“I’m not going to lie. We had to resuscitate her several times. She needs surgery, but my colleagues have all said that it might kill her if we take her to the operating room,” Steve revealed.
“No! Steve, please! You’re a doctor! You have to save my baby! Please! I… I know I was horrible in the past. I know I caused your mother to die. It was my fault! Please, don’t let her die out of revenge against me. She doesn’t deserve it,” Mr. Jones pleaded and got on his knees.
Mrs. Jones and Louis looked at each other in shock, as they had no idea what the older man was rambling about. Then, Steve spoke up.
“Mr. Jones, get up,” the doctor began. “First of all, I have never blamed you for my mother’s death. I blame our country’s healthcare system. Second of all, I’m a doctor. I was top of my class, and I’m on my way to becoming the best this city has ever seen at my age. Upon my graduation, I promised to save lives, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Mr. Jones cried and got up. He hugged the doctor, then Steve went back to Zoe’s room. Soon, they ushered her to surgery. It was a close call, but Steve saved her. Unfortunately, he couldn’t save the baby.
“Zoe, my baby. I’ll never forgive myself for this. I cost you a child years ago, and now, I have done this again. I’m so sorry, honey,” Mr. Jones apologized to his daughter. But she was way more forgiving than most people.
“No, Dad. You didn’t cause this. It was an accident. I decided to forgive you because you were right back then. I wouldn’t have the life I have now if I’d become a teenage mom. You and Mom gave the baby away to a wonderful family. I’m sure she’s fine,” Zoe assured him. “Now Louis and I have to mourn the loss of this baby, but we will have a family soon.”
Mr. Jones thanked God and the staff at the hospital for everything they had done. But he wanted to do more. “Steve, or should I say Dr. Atkinson?” the older man laughed awkwardly. “What can I do for you? Does the hospital need anything? Do you need anything?”
Steve didn’t need anything for himself, and this hospital was well-funded. But there was something he wanted. “Actually, you can help me, sir. Of course, you can say no. I didn’t treat your daughter to get anything back,” the doctor hesitated.
“Please, tell me. I’ll do anything to thank you,” Mr. Jones insisted.
“I would like your support. You are a respected man in our city, and you also have influence. I want to make changes in our country’s healthcare system so that no one else has to suffer like my mother. What do you think?” Steve asked.
“I know exactly where we can start. Let me make some calls,” Mr. Jones replied. They both teamed up to change several laws in their city. Any major improvements would take time, but someone had to cast the first stone.
What can we learn from this story?
You can learn and atone for your mistakes. Mr. Jones got a chance to reconcile with his daughter and help Steve, although he regretted not helping him years ago.
Money shouldn’t prevent anyone from getting life-saving treatments. No one should die because they can’t pay medical attention. It’s time to change the system.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.