After an eight-hour lesson at school, one man was on his way to his second job at a nearby warehouse. The single father was trying to save money for his son’s operation so he could walk again, but little did he know that his life was about to take an unexpected turn.
“I’m afraid I have some bad news for you, Mister Damien. “Unfortunately, Maddox cannot walk on his own and your wife is currently in a coma.”
As he listened to the doctor’s update, Damien, a 34-year-old loving husband and father, shook his head. His wife and son, Maddox, had been in an accident on their way to school the day before and were currently in a critical condition in hospital.
“I will do whatever it takes to save my family,” Damien told the doctor.
“Well, Damien. We will do our best to bring your wife out of her coma, but let me be honest: her treatment will be expensive,” the doctor replied. “And you know Maddox will need spinal surgery to walk again.”
“Don’t worry about that, Doctor. Please start my wife’s treatment as soon as possible,” Damien stood up in the doctor’s room. “I’ll pay for the treatment by tonight.”
On the drive home from the hospital, Damien began to think about his savings. His job as a teacher didn’t allow him to save much money, but what he had in his bank account at the moment was enough for his wife’s treatment.
Later that day, Damien paid for his wife’s treatment before the doctors started. He had spent all his savings on her treatment while his son was still in hospital. The doctors said Maddox had lost his ability to walk and the chances of him ever walking again were slim.
“I’m sorry, Mr Damien,” the doctors told him the next day. “We couldn’t save your wife.
Damien’s heart raced as his legs grew weak. He took a seat on one of the chairs in the hospital waiting area and covered his face with his hands. “Mr. Damien? Are you alright?” a nurse inquired.
The man, filled with sorrow, managed to force a smile as he gazed at the nurse, unaware that he had just lost the love of his life. How am I going to break this news to Maddox? He wondered, making his way towards his son’s hospital room.
Inside Maddox’s room, Damien observed his peacefully sleeping son and decided not to disturb him. However, as he looked at him, Damien realized he could not bear to lose his son or deny him the opportunity to walk again.
I will not let you go, Maddox. You will walk again, Damien resolved within himself, promising to do whatever it takes to get his son back on his feet. The only obstacle standing in his way was the money required for Maddox’s spinal surgery.
A couple of days following the funeral of his wife, Damien powered on his laptop and began searching for job opportunities online. Having exhausted all his funds on his wife’s medical treatment, he found himself with nothing left for Maddox’s necessary surgery.
After two hours, Damien closed his laptop and took a deep breath. He had submitted his resume to several hiring managers who were seeking employees for afternoon shifts. His plan was to take on another job in addition to his role as a teacher for children at school.
As a dedicated educator, Damien could never entertain the thought of giving up his job. He was aware of his students’ reliance on his guidance, and he could not bear to abandon them by resigning.
Two days later, Damien received a phone call from a recruiter at a warehouse near his school. They invited him to an interview later that day and he agreed to come to their office.
During the interview, Damien told the recruiter about the situation with Maddox and his intention to work two jobs in order to pay for his son’s surgery. After hearing his story, the warehouse manager offered Damien a job as a loader.
“Thank you so much!” Damien shouted as he left the warehouse. He was overjoyed to have secured the job, as working hard day and night was the only way he could help Maddox recover.
Every morning Damien would leave home and return at midnight while Maddox remained in hospital. Working 17 hours a day was physically exhausting, but he refused to give up.
Several months later, Damien had managed to save enough money to cover the cost of Maddox’s operation. Although he knew the chances of success were slim, he told the doctor to proceed.
“Mr Damien?” the doctor said as he approached Damien, who had dozed off in the hospital waiting room. Maddox was in surgery at the time.
“Is Maddox all right? How is he?” a worried Damien asked the doctor.
“Please calm down, Mr Damien. Maddox is perfectly fine,” the doctor reassured him. “The operation was successful and we believe your son will be able to walk again. Congratulations!”
Damien breathed a sigh of relief as the doctor smiled at him. He had worked tirelessly for his son’s recovery, and now he could finally see Maddox walking again. Little did he know that his son still needed therapy.
A day later, the doctors informed Damien of the cost of the therapy, meaning he would still have to work 17 hours a day until his son was fully able to walk again.
“Don’t worry, Maddox,” Damien reassured his son while they were still in hospital. “You’ll be back on your feet in no time!”
While Maddox was in therapy, Damien worked seventeen hours a day. He worked as a teacher during the day and as a hard-working loader after school. He worked non-stop and soon found himself facing the consequences of working too hard.
One day, Damien was in the warehouse loading heavy boxes into the truck when he felt a sharp pain in his body and collapsed on the floor. Within minutes, an ambulance arrived and took him to a nearby hospital.
Damien had suffered a stroke because his body couldn’t take the strain. He had been working tirelessly without proper rest, which had taken a toll on his health. When Maddox heard that his father was in hospital, he rushed over in his wheelchair.
“What happened to Dad?” Maddox asked his father’s doctor.
“Listen, Maddox, your father needs to rest. He just suffered a stroke that could have killed him, but he was lucky that the paramedics got him here in time.”
Maddox nodded and asked the doctor if he could see his father. “Yes, you can see him. But please don’t talk to him about anything stressful.”
“Hello, Dad,” Maddox greeted Damien with a smile as he entered the hospital room in his wheelchair. “How are you feeling now?”
“I’m fine, son. There’s nothing to worry about,” Damien replied.
“Dad, you need to rest,” Maddox said firmly. “The doctors have informed me that you’ve been pushing yourself too hard the last few days. Have you been putting in extra hours at work?”
After a moment’s pause, Damien confessed to his son that he had been working as a manual labourer after school, with little rest during the day.
“You worked 17 hours a day? Why, Dad?” Maddox asked, concern evident in his voice.
“I had to pay for your operations and therapy, Maddox,” Damien explained. “I couldn’t bear to see you lose your ability to walk.”
“Oh, Dad!” Maddox clasped his father’s hand. “I had no idea you were working so tirelessly for my operation.”
Later that day, Maddox arrived at his father’s school in his wheelchair, accompanied by a friend who was assisting him. “Hello, Mr Brandon. I’m Maddox, Mr Damien’s son,” Maddox introduced himself to the headmaster.
“Oh, Maddox!” Brandon said. “How are you? How’s Mr Damien?”
“I’m on the road to recovery, but Dad is still in hospital,” Maddox smiled forcefully. “I wanted to talk to you about Dad.”
“Sure, Maddox. What is it?” Brandon asked.
“Um… I wanted to know about the promotion policy at school,” Maddox said after clearing his throat. “Is Dad eligible?”
“I don’t think so, Maddox,” Brandon replied. “Look, something is going on with your dad. I have caught him sleeping during several classes over the past few months, and even the students have told me about it. I was thinking of firing him.”
“What?” Maddox’s eyes widened.
Then Maddox told the headmaster what Damien had been going through. He told him why he was working seventeen hours a week, leaving him no time to rest.
“Oh my goodness! I had no idea Damien was going through so much,” Brandon exclaimed. “He should have told me. I’m always willing to support the teachers at our school.”
After discussing Damien’s situation for a while, Brandon came up with the idea of creating an online fundraising campaign to help Damien. “That’s a fantastic idea!” Maddox exclaimed.
Later that day, Brandon set up a GoFundMe page to help cover Damien’s hospital costs. To his surprise, students, parents and teachers donated generously to the cause. Two days later, Brandon visited Damien in hospital to tell him about the donations.
“Mr Damien, everyone has come together to raise money for you! You have a lot of well-wishers at school!” Brandon told Damien enthusiastically.
“Thank you for organizing the online fundraising campaign,” Damien expressed with a smile towards his boss. “I had no inkling that everyone would come forward to assist me. I am extremely grateful for the support!”
Sitting by Damien’s hospital bed, Brandon spoke to him, “Damien, when you were in need of money, you could have approached me for help. Seeking assistance is not a sign of weakness at all. We are all here to support you!”
“You’re absolutely right,” Damien responded. “I should have reached out to you for help.”
If you liked that story, you might like this one about a poor elderly man who never let anyone into his house until one day his neighbour rushed there after hearing a loud crash, only to find the elderly man dead in the cellar.