A little girl shared her birthday cake with a homeless man she had never seen before. The next day, the man waited until her father had left for work and, after making sure she was alone, appeared on her doorstep accompanied by several men.
They say that to share is to care, and that’s exactly what little Madison wanted to do during her birthday party. But to her surprise, a homeless stranger, whom she had not chased away during the famine, came to her doorstep the next day with his bunch to thank her.
Madison was overjoyed and had been looking forward to her ninth birthday for a long time. She dreamed that this time her dad, Johnny, would buy her her favourite pink dress.
But what the girl didn’t know was that her single father hated the colour, which reminded him of a painful past he never wanted to talk about.
On a fateful night eight years ago, Johnny and his wife Betty were returning from a party. He couldn’t take his eyes off his beautiful wife in her favourite pink dress.
Johnny left her at the house and went to meet a friend. But when he returned, he found his baby home alone, with a letter from Betty in the cot.
“I’m sorry, darling. I’m going away. I’ve been trying to overcome our differences and adjust to your way of life, but after meeting Dave, I realised that only he could bring me happiness and wealth. I still can’t believe I wasted two years of my life on a gas station worker like you. Do whatever you want and take care of yourself. Get down to business. Goodbye.”
Betty was having an affair with a man who Johnny thought was just a ‘friend’. That day he hated everything about Betty. He lost hope and faith in women, so he raised his daughter alone and never married again.
Life as a single father has not been easy for Johnny. He could not find another job and continued to work at the local petrol station. Despite the hardships, he gave his daughter the best of everything. He was willing to turn heaven and earth for Madison, except to give her the only thing she wanted: a pink dress.
“I wish my dad would have given me the pink dress I showed him in the shop,” the girl hopes. “He told me he hated the colour, but I love pink.”
Madison was turning 9 in two days, and every time she saw her daddy, she wanted to ask him what colour her birthday dress would be. But, as with all previous birthdays, Johnny had already decided to only give her a brown dress. Not that brown was his favourite colour, but he was starting to like it because Betty hated it.
The big day had finally arrived, and Madison was so excited to open her father’s birthday present. But as she unwrapped it, her joy faded and her smile waned.
“Not now… a brown dress? But Daddy, you know I already have so many brown dresses!” she cried.
“I love that dress, dear. Please put it on and we’ll cut the cake,” said Johnny.
Disappointed, little Madison put on her dress and pretended to be happy about her birthday. She tried to smile, but she was in too much pain. She went out into the yard to cry alone, and noticed a man in shabby clothes approaching her.
“Hey kid, what’s your name?” – asks the man. “My name is Jim… What’s yours?”
“My name is Madison,” she answers and takes a few steps back, ready to run into the house.
“Hey, wait a minute, Madison. What a beautiful name you have. And your dress is beautiful… You’re so pretty… Do you have anything to eat?”
Madison was upset and naively told the man that it was her birthday and that she was sad. She rushed home and returned with half the birthday cake in a box and gave it to him.
“I’m not a beauty. I hate this brown dress!” – she said with tears in her eyes.
“No, dear. You look like an angel in that dress. You’re so beautiful,” said Jim. “God bless you, sweetheart. Thank you for not driving me away hungry.”
“Who is it?” Madison screamed as the knocking continued.
She knew it wasn’t her father because he was at work and never knocked on the door. The girl realised it was someone else and decided to look through the small hole in the door to see who it was.
“Strangers,” she exclaimed. “Wh-what do you want?”
“Hey, honey… Could you open the door?” – said the homeless man. “Honey, please open the door.”
Madison’s heart raced with fear when she recognized Jim’s voice. Her father had often warned her not to talk to strangers or let them into the house while he was away. She was frightened, but peeked through the hole to see.
The men were dressed in old tattered clothes and whispered to each other, often bending over to do something on the doorstep. Madison sighed and stopped responding to Jim. She anxiously pressed herself against the door, waiting for them to leave.
After a few moments, the small group stopped knocking and left. Madison saw Jim’s figure turn and smile, as if he knew she was watching him.
Restless and frightened, she opened the door slightly and sighed, not seeing anyone outside. But something else caught her attention.
Madison was shocked. Several balloons were tied to the doorknob, and on the threshold were two boxes, one of which was wrapped in a pink package. Curious, she opened one and found a birthday cake. She then opened the second box and sat down, tears of joy flooding her cheeks. In the box was a beautiful pink dress and a pink hat.
Attached to the dress was a note from Jim.
“My friends and I bought this little treat and this dress of your favorite color with the money saved. The store did not treat me very well, but I wanted to give this beautiful dress to my beloved friend. Happy birthday, my dear. May you always be happy. I love you, your friend, Jim.”
It turned out that this cute homeless man had joined his other homeless friends to surprise Madison. They collected all the money they had been collecting for alms for months and bought her a birthday cake and a beautiful pink dress. They waited for her father to go to work to knock on her door because they were afraid he wouldn’t let them see her.
Madison was touched by the gesture of a kind stranger, but deep down she was troubled by her father’s reaction when he saw the pink dress.
When Johnny later learns of the incident, he is furious that Madison accepted a gift from a stranger. Despite her attempts to explain, he was angry. But his mood changed after reading Jim’s note.
He realized that it was a father’s duty to fulfill his child’s wish, not to force her to do things she didn’t like. Johnny kissed Madison on the forehead and promised to buy her all the pink dresses she liked.
That evening, they bought beautiful pink dresses and toys for a long time. On the way, Madison stopped to meet Jim and his friends on the platform and thank them.
“Thank you, dear Jim,” she said with tears in her eyes. “You changed my dad and I love him even more than yesterday. Thank you!” The homeless were happy to see the little girl smiling and wearing the dress they gave her.
It had been eleven years since Madison had seen Jim and his bunch. Although she wanted to meet this good man again, she went on with her life, hoping that Jim was happy somewhere.
On her 20th birthday, Madison was celebrating with her friends at home when she heard the doorbell ring. When she opened it, she saw a box wrapped in a pink fabric. Her heart raced as she unwrapped it and saw a beautiful sparkling pink dress and a note attached to it.
“I wish you good luck and happiness. Here’s something you might want to wear on prom night. Love, Jim.”
Madison couldn’t believe her eyes. She had almost forgotten her old friend, and it touched her heart to know that he still remembered her.
Although it was still unknown where Jim had disappeared to over the years, it was comforting to know that he had always been grateful to the girl who had never left his side.