Candice, an attractive woman of a certain age, tied her silver hair back and grabbed a sharpie from the top of her empty desk. She proceeded to tape closed and mark several open moving boxes with the words, “Hamptons” or “Apartment”. She knew this day would be a tough one. Passing the torch to her daughter felt right but still she found it difficult to see 30 years of her belongs packed into cardboard boxes.
She was proud of her successful healthy cosmetic line. She worked hard to take it from an at home business in her basement to a booming business traded on the Stock Exchange.
After she taped and marked the last box, she tucked a black zipper bag under her arm. As she exited her corner office overlooking Bayfield Park, she whispered farewell and turned off the light.
Wilson, her driver, was waiting at the front of the building slowly twirling his handlebar mustache. She handed him a small box marked Hamptons and told him she would be taking the trail today. He would often meet her on the other side of the popular wooded trail and drive her home from there.
Candice had come to know many familiar faces of those who chose to take the trail for walking, bike riding, and pram pushing. She always felt comfortable just offering a nod, smile, or a quick hello as she would pass them.
On this particularly cold afternoon she nearly turned back, she was about to turn around when she saw a young woman with a waitress uniform draped across her arm. She watched her for a moment and just as she reached Candice the woman tripped on an uprooted tree and her uniform landed squarely in a mud puddle from the early morning rain.
Candice bent down to help her and the woman began to cry. She told her that she was laid off from her job and was returning her uniform to the café or they would charge her for it.
A wooded bench was only a few feet away, so Candice nudged the woman to take a seat, and offered to have the uniform cleaned. The woman was gob smacked and asked her why she would clean the uniform for a complete stranger. She told her she had been a waitress many years ago and she knew it was grueling work for little pay. Candice took the wet uniform, and asked the woman to meet back in this same spot the next day to receive her uniform. Candice continued on her way while the young woman sat on the bench still a bit stunned, she yelled out thank you! Candice waved her hand in the air and kept walking.
The next day the young woman waited on the bench for Candice to arrive. She had a box of homemade cookies in her lap, a thoughtful thank you for Candice’s generosity. As she waited, she saw a man with a handlebar mustache walking up the trail carrying her freshly cleaned uniform. She stood up to greet him. He introduced himself and gave her the uniform and an apology for his employer’s absence. The woman asked him to take her the cookies and to convey her sincere gratitude.
As she started to walk away, she noticed something under the bench. She reached under to retrieve a black zipper bag. A quick look around showed nobody in sight, so she opened it to see if there was any identification inside. Inside she found a small black notebook and a pen tied to a stack of money with a single strand of blue string. She untied the string and opened the notebook.
Inside was written-
- “this bag contains $20,000 if you need a little please take some and change the amount in this notebook.
- If you need a lot please take all but $1000.00 and change the sum in the notebook.
- If you don’t need any, please add some and change the amount in the notebook.
- Then please place the bag back where you found it.”
Wondering who could have possibly thought to do this, and how wonderful it was to find this miracle just when she needed it most.
She sat on the bench holding the bag tightly with both hands. She took what she needed, then changed the sum in the notebook and wrote thank you. She tied it all back together again. As she put the bag back under the bench, she was feeling blessed by the angels, she tucked the money into her coat pocket and walked away.
This little story was originally meant to be submitted in a contest. The instructions were to write a short story that focused on someone unexpectedly receiving $20,000, and it also had to include a black notebook . I wrote it and then realized you had to be a member of Vocal Media ( and of course there was a membership fee) so instead I’m sharing it here today.