Didn’t Think Much Of It
It was a typical start to the day for the man and his wife. They spent the late afternoon in their deli and checking inventory.
The man noticed a black sedan parked outside the building but didn’t think much of it initially. But when he looked closer, he found something that prompted him to jump over the counter quickly.
Journey To A New Town
Ali Farouk made it his goal to support his family by purchasing a deli and restaurant in a small town in Cleveland and continuing the legacy of the nearly 50-year-old business.
He had recently moved to the town with his family and wanted to blend into the community soon. However, his experiences in his new neighborhood would push him to do things he never thought he could do.
Like many immigrants, Ali wanted to make the most of his life in a new country. He and his family had faced difficulties in their home country, and they wanted to start anew after arriving in America.
He and his wife lived in New York City for a time but decided to move to Cleveland for more peaceful surroundings to raise their family. But they were not prepared for what they would encounter there.
Ali had built up enough funds to start a business of his own. It had taken him some time to find the ideal business to invest in, but he eventually came across a small deli that needed a new owner. Without any hesitation, he decided to purchase the deli.
While in New York, he had gained considerable experience in the culinary industry, so the deli seemed like the perfect fit for him. He was convinced that he had finally found his true calling, but he would soon discover that he was mistaken.
The Town Turnaround
The small town they moved to was perfect for Ali and his family to settle down in. The climate was ideal, which added to its appeal.
The community was also friendly, and it wasn’t long before they integrated with the locals. However, things started to go awry, and Ali soon found himself in a difficult situation.
For the majority of business owners, their companies are usually their main source of income. Therefore, one can expect they would do everything in their power to protect them from harm.
When the country imposed a lockdown like many other countries across the globe, Ali’s problems began. The indirect effects of this crucial global action would change everything for him and his family.
A Lasting Impact
As Ali recalled the beginning of the problem, he said that many people he knew – neighbors, friends, and coworkers – had to work from home to support their families and pay for expenses. But many of them lost their jobs because their positions were not able to be done remotely.
During the lockdown, many people were faced with difficulties, some of them unsure of when they would have their next meal. Despite the lockdown restrictions eventually being lifted, the challenges it brought would continue to persist.
A Struggling Neighborhood
The government had slackened some of the rules that had been placed to protect the public. But this did very little to help Ali’s neighborhood recover. Instead, they were facing new difficulties.
Ali mentioned that he knew many people who were without jobs. Additionally, poverty had increased in his town which led to difficult circumstances.
On a regular afternoon, Ali and his wife were going about their day and going through the deli’s inventory. That’s when Ali suddenly saw something that made him look twice.
Outside the deli, there was a black car parked. Initially, he didn’t think much of it but became worried when he looked closer. That was when he quickly jumped over the counter.
The car had been parked outside the deli for longer than usual before the driver lowered the window. That’s when Ali’s attention was caught.
In the backseat, two children were crying while a man with a rough appearance was attempting to comfort them. He wanted to find out more, so Ali quickly left the deli, suspecting that the children were in distress.
The Man And The Kids
Ali found the man trying to calm the kids. He expected some hostility out of him but was shocked to hear how gentle his voice was. He was telling the kids that he didn’t have enough money to buy them breakfast or lunch.
But that wasn’t the saddest part. The man was looking to buy a few supplies for the house and told the kids they would eat back home. One of the children said something that made Ali stop in his tracks.
“The child said they hadn’t eaten since the previous night and was begging his dad to bring them a slice of peach cobbler pie,” said Ali. That’s when he knew he had to step in.
Approaching the man, Ali introduced himself and immediately offered to help. He offered to cook a special meal for the man and his kids, ensuring that he’d make enough to eat at the deli and carry home. He had no idea what he’d started.
It Happens Again
Although the man initially hesitated, he accepted Ali’s offer, eating at the deli and taking the rest of the food home. But a day later, a different customer came into the store, buying food but unable to fully pay for it.
The trend continued for about two weeks, with different customers coming in for small food portions because they were low on cash. Ali was fed up with the state of things.
When Ali moved to America, he wanted to find a place he could call home, somewhere free of suffering. He didn’t want to exist in a place riddled with issues. But deep down, he felt like he could make a positive difference.
He’d already helped one of the customers, and although he knew that wasn’t enough, he hoped it helped. That’s when a thought hit him: what if he could do more?
With the help of his wife, Ali put up a blunt sign that read, “If you don’t have money or a job, you can have a sandwich and a water bottle for free.” Perhaps such a deed would help alleviate the stress and suffering in his neighborhood.
When asked about what drove him to such a noble deed, he said, “My family and I have been blessed beyond measure. There are people out there who are still suffering. I hope this can show them they have someone to count on.” But Ali’s story isn’t the only one of its kind. A similar incident took place just a few miles down the road.
Leticia Jackson was a sixty-seven-year-old grandma living outside of Ali’s town. She was a loving lady with a heart of gold who had made a name for herself as the town’s beloved librarian.
Leticia had one kid, Dolly, with her late husband. There was nothing she loved more than her little girl, and she would do anything to see her smile.
Dolly grew into an intelligent and equally beautiful young woman as the years went by. She excelled in everything she did, making Leticia a proud mom at every turn.
At age twenty, Dolly had secured a spot for herself in one of the best medical schools in the country. But such a remarkable feat would lead to an unfortunate disaster.
She’s Very Proud
Like any mom worldwide, Leticia was more than proud of her Dolly. She always talked about her to her friends and colleagues, telling them about her smart kid studying to be a doctor.
As expected, Dolly graduated med-school with flying colors, kicking her career as a full-fledged doctor into gear. She had no idea the trouble it would all lead to down the line.
Time Moves Fast
Dolly excelled as a doctor, even finding love and getting married. She had three daughters with her husband before disaster struck.
The first phase of this terrible time came in the middle of the night. Dolly and her daughters were visiting Leticia when they heard the phone ring. It was Dolly’s cell, and she picked it up from her bed. But the news would send her jumping to her feet with a scream.
Dolly received news that her husband, who had been a long-time marine, had succumbed to injuries while on the field. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
Leticia raced into her room to find her bitterly weeping on the floor with her phone clutched in her fingers. Her three kids were sound asleep on the bed. What was going on?
A Difficult Time
The months that followed were numbing for both Leticia and Dolly. And as if the pain wasn’t enough, two of Dolly’s children became terribly ill.
Leticia had long retired by then. Her work didn’t have any pension, but she still managed to make ends meet through her loving daughter’s support. But one day, all this would change.
A Grey Life
Life had lost its color after Dolly’s husband passed on. Leticia tried her best to cheer up her daughter, hoping she would move on.
The mom and daughter duo worked hard on Dolly’s healing process, helping her understand that she still had to be strong for her three daughters. Things were starting to look up for them when more disaster struck.
When Will It Stop?
Dolly’s two daughters, who were sick before, were fully recovered. But the world went into lockdown overnight, turning everything the family knew into unchartered territory.
As a celebrated doctor, Dolly still reported to the hospital as an essential worker. But given that the pandemic had only started, the worst thing would happen to her.
It Get’s Worse
Dolly was among the many unfortunate medical practitioners to fall under critical condition while helping stabilize the world. The news shocked Leticia, who couldn’t wrap her mind around how these later years of her life seemed cursed.
She prayed for her daughter’s recovery for several weeks, taking her granddaughters to live with her. But more difficult times were still ahead.
Trying To Survive
As a pensionless retiree, Dolly found it difficult raising three ten-year-old girls by herself. She was almost seventy, with not as much energy to do what moms do for their kids.
It wasn’t long before she found it difficult to put food on the table for her grandkids. Her daughter’s bosses had promised her help was on the way. But after weeks of waiting, Leticia knew she was alone.
The Stars Won’t Align
Leticia had spent weeks trying to get the cash her daughter had authorized the bank to send her way. A successful medical practitioner, Dolly had saved enough cash to help her mom through the difficult time while she was recovering.
But given that the world was in lockdown, accessing any of the money was a huge problem. But what could the sixty-seven-year-old do?
One day, Leticia took her grandkids to the local diner to ask for some food. She’d considered going alone, but she brought them along since she had no one to watch over them.
After waiting in line for a few minutes, she called the manager to the side and explained her situation. She didn’t need much, just a few chicken pieces and some mac and cheese for the kids. “How will you pay?” the manager asked.
I Will Pay
Leticia slid her national ID over to the manager, telling him to keep it as a promise that she’d be back to clear her bill. Her three grandkids were playing at one of the booths, oblivious of the hardships she was going through.
The manager, Mr. Harun, looked at them for minutes. Then he looked back at Leticia. What he said left her in tears.
She Doesn’t Cry
Leticia had always been a strong woman. She could count the number of times she’d shed tears as an adult in one hand.
The manager’s answer would catch her off guard, dredging up all the sorrow she’d been holding back through her daughter’s grieving period and her own loss. Streams of tears would flow down her face.
You Are Not Alone
“Let me fix you guys a bag,” the manager began. He placed several pieces of chicken, lemons cakes, mac and cheese, and bbq in a massive bag and offered it to Leticia.
The food must’ve cost more than two hundred dollars, yet he insisted she takes it and comes for more throughout the week until she was back on her feet again. “I know it seems like you are alone,” he said. “But look around. We are all here for you!”
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.