|Photo: Leanne Alessi|
On the last day before Christmas, I hurried to the supermarket to buy the rest of the gifts I hadn’t managed to buy earlier.
When I saw all the people there, I started to complain to myself: “It is going to take forever here and I still have so many other places to go. Christmas really is getting more and more annoying every year. How I wish I could just lie down, go to sleep, and only wake up after it was over.”
Nonetheless, I made my way to the toy section, and there I started to decry the prices, wondering if kids really play with such expensive toys.
I noticed a small boy about five years old, pressing a doll against his chest. He kept on touching the hair of the doll, and he looked so sad. I wondered whom this doll was for. Then the little boy turned to the old woman next to him and asked, “Granny, are you sure I don’t have enough money?” The old lady replied, “You know that you don’t have enough money to buy this doll, my dear.”
Then she asked him to stay there for five minutes while she went to look around. She left quickly. The little boy was still holding the doll in his hands.
Finally, I walked over to him and asked him to whom he wanted to give this doll.
“This is the doll that my sister loved most and wanted so much for this Christmas. She was so sure that Santa Claus would bring it to her.”
I replied that maybe Santa Claus would bring it to her after all, and not to worry. But he said sadly, “No, Santa Claus can not bring it to her where she is now. I have to give the doll to my mother so that she can give it to her when she goes there.” His eyes were so sad while saying this. “My sister has gone to be with God. Daddy says that Mummy will also go to see God very soon, so I thought that she could take the doll with her to give it to my sister.”
My heart nearly stopped.
The little boy looked up at me and said, “I told Daddy to tell Mummy not to go yet. I asked him to wait until I come back from the supermarket.” Then he showed me a very nice photo of himself where he was laughing.
He told me, “I also want Mummy to take this photo with her so that she will not forget me. I love my mummy and I wish she didn’t have to leave me, but Daddy says that she has to go to be with my little sister.”
Then he looked again at the doll with his sad eyes. I quickly reached for my wallet and took out a few dollars and said to the boy, “What if we checked again, just in case, to see if you have enough money?”
“Okay,” he said. “I hope that I have enough.” I added some of my money to his without him seeing, and we started to count it. There was enough for the doll, and even some to spare. The little boy said, “Thank you, God, for giving me enough money.”
Then he looked at me and added, “I asked yesterday before I slept for God to make sure I had enough money to buy this doll, so that Mummy can give it to my sister. He heard me. I also wanted to have enough money to buy a white rose for my mummy, but I didn’t dare to ask God for too much. But he gave me enough to buy the doll and the white rose. Mummy loves white roses.”
A few minutes later, the old lady returned, and I left with my cart. I finished my shopping in a totally different state of mind from when I started. I couldn’t get the little boy out of my mind. Then I remembered a local newspaper article two days before, about an accident involving a drunk driver in a truck and a young mother and child in a car. The little girl died at the scene, and the mother was left in a critical state. The family had to decide whether to pull the plug on the life support system, because the young lady would not be able to recover from the coma.
Was this the family of the little boy?
Two days after this encounter with the little boy, I read in the newspaper that the young lady had passed away. I impulsively bought a bunch of white roses and went to the funeral home where the body of the young woman was on display for visitors to pay their final respects.
She lay there in her coffin, holding a beautiful white rose in her hand, with the doll and the photo of the little boy placed over her chest.
I left the place crying, feeling that my life had been changed forever.
The love that this little boy had for his mother and his sister is still, to this day, hard to imagine.
And in a fraction of a second, a drunk driver had taken it all away from him.