Single Dad Helps Older Woman Mow Her Lawn, Soon Gets a Call from Her Lawyer — Story of the Day

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Felix sees his elderly neighbor struggling to cut her overgrown lawn and rushes to help her. She forces an unusual, antique box on him as a token of appreciation, but her gift lands Felix in deep trouble when her lawyer phones to request an urgent meeting.

Felix, a single dad in his mid-30s, sat wearily in his armchair, half-watching TV in his modest, slightly worn living room.

The background noise of sitcom laughter barely masked the solitude of his daily routine, marked by the loss of his wife seven years earlier in a car crash.

Felix found solace in his job as a janitor and in raising his daughter, Alice, whose presence brought him moments of joy reminiscent of her mother.

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One day, Felix was drawn to the window by a noise outside. He saw his elderly neighbor, Mrs. White, struggling with her lawnmower. Known for her independence despite her age, Mrs. White seemed to need help today.

Without hesitation, Felix approached her and offered his assistance. “Let me help you with that, Mrs. White,” he said, taking over the stubborn machine. They worked silently together under the afternoon sun.

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After finishing, Mrs. White, grateful and smiling warmly, expressed her appreciation.

“Felix, you’ve always been so good to me, lending me your strength and time without asking for anything in return.”

Felix, modest as ever, responded, “It’s no trouble at all, Mrs. White.”

Insistent on showing her gratitude, Mrs. White offered Felix an ornately decorated box, but he hesitated, feeling uneasy about accepting such a lavish gift. “I can’t accept this, Mrs. White.”

She respected his refusal but instead handed him a bag of apples for Alice.

“Then, please, at least take these apples for Alice,” she urged.

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Felix accepted the apples with a simple “Thank you,” and returned home.

Inside, he presented the apples to his excited daughter, Alice, who delightedly accepted them with a cheerful, “Thank you, Daddy!”

As Felix resumed his quiet evening, Alice discovered the same ornate box in the bag with the apples.

Surprised and intrigued, she brought it to Felix, exclaiming, “Daddy! Look what was in the bag with the apples!”

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The mysterious box, now in Felix’s hands, sparked a flurry of questions and curiosity about its contents and why Mrs. White had hidden it among the apples.

Felix, holding the ornate box, insisted to his daughter, Alice, “Alice, we can’t keep it. It’s not ours.”

Alice, curious, replied, “But Dad, what if there’s something cool inside? Something we need?”

“Alice, even if that’s true, it doesn’t make it ours. This box belongs to someone else. We need to respect that.”

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Accepting her father’s decision, Alice agreed, and Felix decided to return the box to Mrs. White. Upon reaching her house, Felix felt a foreboding silence.

He called out, “Mrs. White?” but received no response. As he searched the house, the unsettling quiet weighed heavily until he found Mrs. White lying motionless on her couch, her life evidently having slipped away.

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Shocked and uncertain, Felix debated his next steps amidst the heavy realization of her death. He knew he had to call someone, yet, he hesitated, his gaze shifting back and forth between Mrs. White and the box clutched in his hands.

He finally stepped back, leaving the house with the box, now a burdensome secret.

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Back home, the box on his table seemed more ominous than ever.

Later, Felix researched the box online, hoping to gauge its value. Typing “antique box gold diamond inserts” into his computer, he discovered similar items valued at staggering amounts, notably one listed for $250,000.

This revelation tempted him with financial security for Alice but also tested his morals. As he contemplated his next move, the phone rang, breaking the silence.

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An unknown voice introduced himself on the call, stating, “Good evening, is this Felix? My name is Jonathan Pryce. I am Mrs. White’s attorney. I believe it is imperative for us to discuss a matter of significant concern. Can we arrange a face-to-face meeting?”

Agreeing nervously, Felix responded, “Sure, we can meet. How about tomorrow?”

“Let’s convene at ‘Café Lorraine’ on the main street at 10 a.m. It’s a quiet place, conducive for such discussions,” Mr. Pryce proposed.

“Okay, I’ll be there,” Felix confirmed, ending the call with his heart pounding against his chest.

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Felix arrived at ‘Café Lorraine’ where he met Mrs. White’s lawyer and her son, Henry. The introduction was a shock to Felix, unaware of any family ties Mrs. White had.

Henry cut to the chase, “I know you were at my mother’s house yesterday,” his voice accusing.

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Felix defended himself, “I was helping her out, like I often did.”

“My mother had a box, an antique, with significant sentimental value to our family. It’s been in our family for generations… Now, it’s gone. Disappeared,” Henry stated. “But such things don’t just vanish, do they?”

Feeling cornered, Felix kept silent, prompting Henry to offer a deal.

“Listen, I don’t care how it happened, but I need that box back. I’m willing to pay for its return. A thousand dollars, no questions asked,” Henry offered.

Felix, aware of the box’s true value, retorted, “I’m not an idiot. I know the box’s worth, a lot more than what you’re offering. And no, I didn’t steal it. Your mother gave it to me, of her own free will.”

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Caught off guard, Henry listened as Felix declared his intentions, “I’ve decided to auction the box. If it means that much to you, you’re welcome to bid on it, just like anyone else.”

With that, Felix left the café abruptly, feeling a mix of defiance and apprehension about the unfolding events.

The next day at the auction, experts marveled at the box, questioning Felix about its origins. Under their scrutiny, Felix faltered, claiming, “It was…it was an inheritance,” which only raised more doubts.

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The situation escalated as the experts demanded proof of ownership, and talk of involving the police began.

Panicked and unprepared, Felix found himself saying, “I… I don’t have them with me.”

With the situation spiraling, Felix made a desperate decision to flee, escaping the auction house to avoid legal complications, his mind racing with fear and uncertainty.

At home, Felix was tormented by thoughts of the box and its potential to change their lives. He realized he needed proof of the box’s legitimacy from Mrs. White’s house.

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Late at night, he snuck into her home, searching desperately for any document that could validate his claim.

Felix’s search was fruitless, and as despair grew, he was startled by a noise. Turning, he saw Henry in the doorway.

“I knew you’d come,” Henry said, his voice tinged with disappointment. “After I heard about the auction, I figured you’d show up here looking for something to legitimize your claim to that box.”

Caught and feeling defenseless, Felix listened as Henry laid down his conditions.

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“Felix, you’ve made a grave mistake,” Henry continued. “This is breaking and entering. It’s a criminal offense. But I’m willing to overlook this if you do exactly as I say.”

Henry’s terms were harsh but clear. “You have until tomorrow,” he stated firmly. “Bring the box to me, or I’ll have no choice but to file a report with the police. They’ll be very interested to learn about your little nocturnal excursion.”

Defeated and with no real choice, Felix agreed and was escorted out. He returned home, overwhelmed by the gravity of his situation.

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He considered his limited options: surrender the box to Henry and avoid legal trouble but lose any potential financial gain or take a risk that could endanger his and Alice’s future.

In his turmoil, Felix decided to send Alice to her grandmother’s, far from the impending fallout. He packed a bag for her, including the box, as a safeguard.

Suddenly, Alice appeared, sensing her father’s distress. “Dad, what’s going on? You look upset,” she inquired with innocent concern.

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Felix realized he had to explain the situation to her, revealing the true value of the box and the complexities it brought into their lives.

Felix paced his living room, the weight of their precarious situation pressing on him. “Alice, this box… it’s our ticket to a better life,” he explained, trying to mask his anxiety. “It’s worth $250,000. But I can’t be the one to benefit from it. You must take it to Grandma in Virginia.”

Alice, overwhelmed, asked, “But why can’t you come with me, Dad?”

Felix sighed deeply, “I might not be around for some time, sweetheart. There’s a chance I’ll have to… go away for a little while. But I promise it won’t be forever. I’ll fight to come back to you.”

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As they packed, Felix reassured Alice of her strength and the importance of their plan. At the bus station, amid a heartfelt goodbye, he watched her leave, feeling a piece of his heart go with her.

Returning home to the oppressive silence of the now empty house, Felix made a pivotal decision.

Picking up the phone, he called Henry, resigning to his fate. “I don’t have the box, Henry. It’s out of my hands,” he declared. “I’m ready to turn myself in. You can call the police.”

Soon, the police arrived and took Felix away without resistance, his thoughts fixed on Alice’s safety and their future.

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Months later in prison, Felix’s routine was interrupted by a guard’s sudden order. “Pack your things and come with me!” Confused but hopeful, Felix followed, only to find Alice waiting for him.

“Dad,” she greeted, her presence instantly lifting his spirits.

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Alice revealed that she had unlocked the box, finding documents and a letter from Mrs. White stating her wish for Felix to inherit the box. Using these, Alice secured his release.

“I couldn’t believe it myself, Dad. After you sent me away, I kept thinking about the box, about the code… And then, one day, it just clicked!”

Felix was overwhelmed by Mrs. White’s final act of kindness and Alice’s determination.

“So, I took those papers, and I found a buyer, someone who collects antiques like that. They didn’t just pay for the box, Dad. They helped me find a lawyer, explained about bail, and how we could fight the case.”

Reunited, they embraced, ready to start anew. “We don’t have to worry anymore. We have enough to start over, but more importantly, we have each other. And we’re going to get through this, one step at a time,” Alice assured him, her words a balm to Felix’s weary soul.

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