An orphan shares his food with a homeless man. One day he arrives in a luxury car to adopt her

An orphan girl who shares her food with a homeless beggar on the street near her home is stunned when he returns to adopt her.

Marlene Halley walked home from school every day through the same corner. It wasn’t his real home. Marlène was an orphan, and after the death of her parents she had been placed in foster care.

It was hard. It wasn’t because his adoptive parents weren’t nice, because they were. It was just that they had three other dependent children. Sometimes Marlene felt very alone until she met Brad.

For illustration only | Source: Unsplash

Marlene noticed Brad sitting on the corner of her street. He was wearing ragged clothes and his hair and beard were disheveled and matted, but his eyes were very sad.

She knew what this grief was. She had seen the same lost, puzzled look a thousand times in her own mirror.

One day Marlene mustered up the courage and spoke to the man. “Hello,” she said. “Are you heartbroken too?”

The man had lowered his eyes, but he looked up to stare at Marlene. “A broken heart?” He asked. “Yes, yes… But how do you know?”

Love gives us the courage to put our sorrows aside and live again.

Marlene sat down next to the man. “I know because mine is broken too,” she explained. “I can see in your eyes that you can’t go home, just like me.”

The man raised his hands to cover his face and Marlene saw that his shoulders shook as if he were crying. She touched him gently. “I’m sorry,” she said. “Didn’t mean to make you cry…”

For illustration only |  Source: Pexels

For illustration only | Source: Pexels

“It’s okay,” the man said. “You know, sometimes crying is good for you. It cleans the cobwebs out of the heart.”

“Spider web?” Marlene asked. “Do you have SPIDERS in your heart? yuck! I hate spiders!

“Well,” said the man. “When your heart breaks, sometimes cobwebs hold it together. And besides, I love spiders.”

Marlene laughed. “Little spiders?” she asked. “No thanks!”

“I’m Brad,” the man said. “I’ve been sitting in this corner for two years and no one has ever asked me … or noticed that I was upset.”

“I know…” Marlene said. “I think people get scared when they see someone not happy. They think sadness spreads, like the flu.”

For illustration only |  Source: Pexels

For illustration only | Source: Pexels

“So why are you upset?” Brad asked Marlene. So the little girl told her all about her parents and how she was all alone in the world and how lonely she felt.

“But why are you sitting here?” she asked Brad.

He turned his face away in shame. “I expect people to give me money…” he said. “So I can buy food.”

“Are you hungry?” Marlene asked. “I have food!” She reached into her school bag and pulled out a spongy sandwich with the filling sticking out of the sides.

Brad accepted the sandwich and told Marlene it was delicious. “I did it myself,” Marlene said proudly. “It’s my own special recipe. Peanut butter and mayonnaise!”

Since then, not a day has passed without Marlene stopping on the way home to bring Brad a sandwich and talk to her friend. She simply could not imagine her day without Brad.

For illustration only |  Source: Pexels

For illustration only | Source: Pexels

But one day when she came around the corner, he just wasn’t there! She ran to the next cafe and asked the waiter, “Have you seen my friend Brad?”

The waiter says, “You mean the homeless guy sitting in that corner?”

“Yes,” said Marlene. “It’s Brad.”

“Are you Marlene?” asked the waiter. “He left you a letter.”

He handed Marlene a crumpled piece of paper. Marlene unfolded it and read: “Dear Marlene, I’m sorry, but I had to go to fix my heart. I promise I will come back one day soon. Your friend, Brad“.

Marlene was very sad and very lonely again. Every time she passed by Brad’s corner, she cried, which meant she cried pretty much every day.

For illustration only |  Source: Unsplash

For illustration only | Source: Unsplash

Marlene’s adoptive mother scolded her: “Stop crying! You will ruin the blue in your eyes. Why are you crying so much anyway?

“My only friend is gone,” cried Marlene. “And I don’t think I’ll ever see him again. My mom and dad said they’d come back, but they never did. I don’t think Brad will come back either.”

But Marlene was wrong because eighteen months later Brad was back. Marlene saw a large luxury car parked in front of her adoptive parents’ door, and when she entered, Brad was there!

He looked very different. His face was smooth and his hair was cut and he was wearing very nice clothes. But despite these physical differences, Marlene recognized him immediately because he still had the same sweet, sad look.

“Brad!” she cried and ran to kiss him. “Why did you leave ?”

“You know,” Brad said. “A few years ago I was a happy man. I was painting pictures that people would buy and my wife and I were going to have a baby.

For illustration only |  Source: Pexels

For illustration only | Source: Pexels

“But when it came time for our baby to be born, something went very wrong. My wife and baby died, and I think a part of me died too. I couldn’t paint anymore.

“So I just gave up on life and myself—until I met you, Marlene. When you gave me those peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches, you did more than feed my body, you fed my soul. I decided that I would give you something too. So I went to a friend who owns an art gallery and begged for work so I could buy canvases and paintings and I started painting again.”

“When my friend saw my new work, he was very excited. He said my painting was even better than before, and he put them in his gallery. And you know what? People started buying them! Then I did an exhibition … Well, long story short, I bought myself a house and some clothes and I went to child services. I got an adoptive parent certificate.”

“I want to ask you if you want to be my little girl, Marlene. If you want, they say in a year I can adopt you and we can be a family!”

For illustration only |  Source: Unsplash

For illustration only | Source: Unsplash

Marlene started crying so hard that Brad was startled. “My mom and dad said they would come back and they didn’t,” she sobbed. “You promised and you came back, you really did come back!”

Brad gave Marlene a big hug and said, “Marlene, I promise you that from now on I will never leave again. We will be family!”

What can we learn from this story?

  • We must look beyond appearances to see into someone’s heart. Marlene saw that Brad was sad and lonely and started talking to him when most people just walked by.
  • Love gives us the courage to put our sorrows aside and live again. Marlene inspired Brad to start painting again and take his life back.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

Read also: Woman leaves father in wheelchair on the street and promises to come back soon, she keeps her promise 12 years later – today’s story

This story is inspired by our readers’ daily lives and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or places is purely coincidental. All images are used for illustrative purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, email us at

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