Kerry Donavan met her husband Tyler in foster care. The two had been orphaned at a young age, and they became each other’s whole life

A poor mother surviving tough times stopped believing in miracles and bought an old second-hand baby stroller from the flea market. While cleaning the buggy to put her newborn baby girl to sleep, she found a sealed envelope hidden inside that would turn her life around in ways she could’ve never imagined.

The road shimmered in the heat of the midday sun as Mariam squeezed her eyes, tears trickling and splattering on her hands as she pushed the second-hand baby stroller she’d just bought for a steal. She blinked over a dozen times to clear the redness in her sore eyes so that passers-by at the Antiques Fair flea market don’t catch a glimpse of her crying.

Mariam had spent everything up to her last dime on getting this stroller for her newborn baby girl, Heidi. But it pricked her heart when she looked down at the time-worn buggy. It was not something she would’ve normally wanted her child to have if it hadn’t been for that cruel twist of fate.

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Before her little miracle came into the world, Mariam was the most excited and happiest mom-to-be with some of the brightest plans for her child. How the nursery should look, what shade of the finest pink should go on the walls, the toys that baby Heidi would grow up playing with, the crib she’d sleep in, and even the buggy had to be the best. Mariam wanted her first baby, the first ever light of her life, to only have the best of everything.

Mariam was sure that she had managed to escape poverty, but one incident with her husband, a horrifying one, toppled her life, turning her dreams into a living nightmare.

Orphaned after losing her parents in a car crash, Mariam had no choice but to accept her fate as young as nine. She was brought to the shelter by child services because she had nobody she could call family who could take her in or raise her.

It was here where she first met John, a happy-go-lucky ten-year-old orphaned boy who took life positively the way it came…

“Walsh, my name is John Walsh!” John laughed, introducing himself to Mariam, adjusting an old moth-eaten bowtie on his neck. Like the other kids, John hadn’t come to the shelter asking for it. His parents had abandoned him long ago when he was little.

“Mariam,” she said, holding her teddy bear, Mr. Fluffy.

John and Mariam’s lives were only this much in a nutshell. But things were about to change after they met and shook hands.

As time ticked away, they became thick friends, as though they’d known each other for ages. They spent most of their lives growing up together and even went to the same high school.

Then came the time when a tall, tanned, and handsome 19-year-old John went down on one knee and asked Mariam if she would be more than just his best friend and marry him. He didn’t know fancy dialogues like the ones in movies. No cheesy lines, either. The proposal ring wasn’t even a real diamond! But his love was true to every drop of his blood, so he just asked her if she would be his forever. And she said yes!

John and Mariam married in a simple church wedding soon after graduating high school. With no financial means to pay for college, they decided to work and went job hunting together. It seemed like a breath of fresh air when Mariam found a job as a storekeeper in a famous clothing line warehouse.

Meanwhile, John landed a job as a bricklayer in a construction company, and together, they dreamed of making good money to plan their future together. Everything seemed to be getting better and more beautiful in their lives when Mariam and John were expecting their first child three years later.

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“Can you see the baby’s movement?” the doctor smiled at Mariam, whose eyes wouldn’t stop flowing with tears when she looked at her tiny baby nestled inside her on the ultrasound monitor.

Beside Mariam stood John, joy dripping from his eyes as tears as he looked at his tiny baby, cradled amid the gentle contractions. He was the happiest expectant dad, and his endless tears were proof of just how excited and impatient he was to hold his baby girl soon. Mariam was only three months pregnant then, and they still had more time until the due date.

Believe in miracles, and do not lose hope. The weather always clears on its own after a storm, and so will the problems in your life.
“Six more months…six more….we should get that house before the baby is here!” John kept telling his wife on their drive in a taxi to see the dream house they’d planned on buying before their baby arrived.

John worked very hard. Sometimes even took double shifts. Mariam still went to work until her maternity break was due. Eventually, the couple pooled all their savings and took a mortgage, thus grabbing the keys to their much-awaited dream home. It seemed all their wishes were finally coming true. They happily moved into their new house and got started with the preparations for their bundle of joy, who was on the way.

“Dark pink…no baby pink…no, I want it even lighter to set the mood,” Mariam was in their baby’s soon-to-be nursery.

“Our baby should get the best life,” John knelt before his wife and kissed her bulging belly. “She should never go through what we had to. I’ll NEVER let that happen as long as I’m alive!”

John’s tears soaked into Mariam’s gown as she clenched his shoulder and silently cried. Just how happy and peaceful they were, expecting nothing but joy in their lives! Nothing bothered them. Not the debts, not the mortgage they’d have to pay to make this house forever theirs, or their jobs that demanded more time and energy from them.

John and Mariam, who was now seven months pregnant, only looked forward to giving the best upbringing to their baby, who was set to arrive in two months. But one day, something terrible happened that not just stormed their lives but destroyed their dreams most painfully.

“Your husband didn’t come today?” the doctor said, wiping her hands dry before placing the ultrasound transducer on Mariam’s belly.

“No! He wanted to! But he had to go on some urgent work. He said he’ll be here if he gets his job done soon….”

“John’s so excited about this baby. I’m sure he’ll be an amazing father,” the doctor added, smiling.

“Yes! He’ll be such a wonderful dad!” Mariam’s eyebrows rose along with her smile. As soon as the scan was over, she left the ward and had barely crossed the hallway when her phone rang.

“N-N-No, you’ve got it wrong. My husband just called me…an hour ago. It can’t be him,” Mariam’s eyes widened in alarm, and her skin lost color, turning chalk-white.

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“Mrs. Walsh, your husband John has been admitted to the city hospital,” said the caller.

“Oh, my God!” Mariam kept repeating, but the shock never wore off when she learned John had been admitted to the same hospital she had visited for the checkup.

“Mrs. Walsh, hello…hello? Hello, Mrs. Walsh, your husband John had a severe accident this afternoon, and he’s admitted here. If you could please come and sign some papers quickly so that we proceed with the operation…Hello? Hello?”

The line went blank, and Mariam’s phone rattled on the floor as visitors and staff ran to her rescue. A sudden rush of adrenaline paralyzed her in shock, and she fell, hitting the ground, holding her baby bump. A stabbing pain sprang into her belly, and nothing flashed before her eyes for the next few seconds.

“The pregnant lady…come quick…quick…her water broke…she’s bleeding…hurry up….” visitors and staff rushed to the spot. They scooped Mariam up, put her on the gurney, and wheeled her into the labor room.

Mariam regained consciousness hours later to a grave silence around her, except for the beeping sound of the heart rate monitor. She felt lighter, as though a part of her had been cut and taken out. She ran her hand on her belly and realized it had gone flat. Due to stress and shock, Mariam gave birth to a premature baby.

“My baby…where’s my baby?” she cried to the nurse.

Mariam looked at the empty crib to her left and clutched her arms to her chest, crying for someone to bring her baby.

“Where’s my baby? Nurse, my baby…I want to see my baby…Is she alright??”

“Your baby is fine. She’s in the NICU.”

“Oh, Jesus…Thank you, Jesus…Can I see her? Can you please take me to my baby?”

Minutes later, Mariam found herself in a quiet ward with a tiny baby sleeping peacefully in the incubator.

“My angel…my little baby,” warm tears of joy poured from Mariam’s glassy eyes at seeing her newborn, who was sleeping as though she didn’t wish to see the pain or sorrow of the outside world. So peaceful and delicate the little one looked.

“My baby! My love! Mama is here…My angel, we’ll go home soon to daddy!” Mariam cried to her newborn with the most assuring gentle touch. Then a sudden gush of grief poured out when she remembered about the call and her husband.

“Oh my God…Where’s my husband?? Where’s John? I want to see him…They said he was admitted here…What happened to him?” she asked the nurse.

“Mrs. Walsh, we are sorry,” the doctor walked in, calling out to Mariam. “You need to come with me.”

Mariam’s heart started racing when she followed the doctor outside the ward. Haunting fear engulfed her from all sides when she saw a gurney with a body covered in a thin white sheet wheeled in her direction.

“No…don’t do this to me, John,” she panicked and stopped dead on the spot.

Mariam’s ears deafened. Her hands and legs froze. She could not move, and her mouth fell wide open as the gurney approached closer and closer…

“Mrs. Walsh? Mrs. Walsh, come this way,” the doctor called out to her, jolting her to the moment. “Come this way, to the emergency room.”

Mariam sighed heavily as though the whole world’s grief had jumped off her shoulders when the gurney passed by her toward the morgue. She realized the body on it was not John’s. Moments later, she arrived outside the ER as the doctor showed her husband through the round see-through glass on the door.

“John is out of danger. He had fallen from the roof of a building while fixing something and injured his head and spine. He’s had a traumatic brain injury.”

“Thankfully, he’s out of danger…but…but John cannot walk again, Mrs. Walsh.”

The happiest moment of Mariam’s life was also the saddest. It hit her like a ton of bricks when the doctor explained the medical terms far from her understanding or knowledge. Those that only meant one thing — John was paralyzed from the waist down and would never be able to walk again.

“What do you mean he cannot walk? Do something. Please, do something, doctor. Please, assure me he can walk….”

“Stay strong, Mrs. Walsh!” the doctor left, patting her shoulder.

‘Strong’ seemed like an ugly curse word to Mariam now. She was shattered to bits and pieces, and she felt she could never gather her broken self back to live anymore.

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A few weeks later, Mariam returned home with her newborn baby and John, who was now in a wheelchair. He had forgotten what a smile was after the accident. Mariam stopped believing in a brighter future anymore. Fate had destroyed all their hopes and happiness in a wink.

The house in front of them looked nothing more than brick and cement. The lawn John and Mariam once walked and kissed under endless starry nights would now grow to be bare and unkempt. And the life they’d envisioned for their baby? The very thought of it shuddered Mariam’s heart as she pushed John’s wheelchair into the doorway.

“Throw those shoes away…I don’t want to see them,” John raged at seeing his old shoes on the rack. They were solid reminders of his disability, as John knew he could never feel the ground under his feet again.

As time mercilessly ticked away, the condition in their lives headed south. A voice in a cranny of her heart kept telling Mariam that the day was not far when both she and her husband would be out of their misery.

Insurance benefits and the disability pension John got helped to an extent but were barely enough, especially with a baby in the family and the mortgage still pending over their heads. So Mariam decided to get back to work. She returned to her old job against John’s wishes. He wanted her to quit it to focus on their baby, but now, circumstances were different, and going back to work was her only option.

Life was just going on the way fate led it. Mariam shuttled between caring for her husband, her baby, and her full-time job as a stacker in the warehouse. Her earnings were barely enough, and their misery seemed to never end. Moreover, she was haunted whenever she entered the nursery near her bedroom.

It looked bare and gloomy. The walls were not painted blossom pink. There was no crib. No toys for baby Heidi to play with. Sadly, she didn’t even have a stroller. So with the money she’d saved, Mariam decided to buy a nice, second-hand buggy for her baby.

She wanted to get the best buggy, even if it was for a steal and used, so she took half a day off from work to visit the flea market that day. Just as Mariam finished her shift and was about to leave, she noticed her colleague, a tall, hazel-eyed man named Dexter, stealing goods from the warehouse.

Mariam could not close her eyes to it. She knew Dexter was a rude man, but that didn’t stop her from catching him red-handed and threatening him to stop and surrender.

“If you don’t tell it, I’ll do it,” she threatened Dexter about reporting him to their supervisor. Doing this, Mariam had only invited more trouble to herself.

“Do what you can, lady. I’m not scared of your threats,” the man raged. “Go tell him. I don’t care. And you know what?”

Dexter burst into wild laughter, swearing. “Get lost, loser!”

Mariam was furious and immediately reported Dexter to their supervisor, Frank. Alas, if she only knew that Frank was the brains behind this theft. He and Dexter were partners in the scheme.

Since the stackers worked directly under Frank, a middle-aged man who bossed around the employees, he had the power to fire just anybody he wanted. Although Mariam’s work records were clean, he sacked her for no reason. This was the prize she paid for being honest. This was what she got in such a hard time when she needed this job the most.

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A thick gust of wind snapped Mariam to the present when she found herself wandering on the street, pushing the stroller. She hurried home and stowed the buggy aside. It was time to help John bathe and then feed her baby. She had been busy the whole evening and had forgotten about the stroller that lay still in the living room corner.

“That’s a nice baby buggy, darling. It looks fine to me!” John broke Mariam’s silence as she cradled her baby to sleep that night.

“Oh, I totally forgot about it! Can you hold her for a minute? I’ll just clean the stroller…” said Mariam, approaching the buggy with a wet washcloth.

She dusted it, and while checking the compartments, Mariam felt something hard, like thick paper, in one of the pouches.

“What’s this?” she exclaimed and unzipped the compartment. “An envelope?? What’s this doing here?”

‘From poor mother to another poor mother’ read the words on it…

Mariam’s eyes rimmed with confusion as she tore open the sealed envelope and pulled out wads of $1000 bills and a letter. She was stunned as she unfolded the crumbled note.

“You probably bought this stroller because you’re not experiencing the best times in your life. Well, everybody has hard times, but you need to have hope because no storm is permanent. Here’s a little help from me to you. Maybe this money could help you. If you don’t wish to take it, you can always think of others in need of this money more than you. Decide wisely, and if you still do not want this money, then send it to the homeless shelter’s address mentioned here.”

There was no name, no other details mentioned, nothing about the person who’d left the money in the buggy, except for the shelter’s address. Getting $1000 in such a helpless situation was like hitting a little jackpot for Mariam. But she decided she wouldn’t take the money.

“At least I have a home and something to eat! There are people who need this more than me,” she thought. “I’ll send it to this address first thing tomorrow.”

The next day, Mariam sent the money to the address mentioned in the letter and went about looking for a new job. She hadn’t told John she was fired as she didn’t want to worry him more. She walked up and down several stores and offices but was turned down.

A few weeks passed, and just as Mariam was about to leave her house, a loud knock on the door startled her. She and John had never had any visitors for a long time, so she was puzzled about who it could be.

Mariam opened the door and saw an older woman in expensive clothes standing on the doorstep, and her pink-tinted lips pulled into a half-formed smile across her wrinkled face.

“Hey there! I’m Margot Doyle!”

“Hey!” Mariam said, finding herself at a loss for words because she didn’t know who this woman was and why she’d come. Observing the woman from top to toe, Mariam understood that this woman hailed from a wealthy background.

“But why is she here? Do I know her?” Mariam wondered.

“Won’t you let me in, Mariam?” the lady said, snapping Mariam to her senses.

“Please come in!” she said, opening the door fully and stepping aside. “How do you know my name? Have we met before?”

Margot walked in, looking around the poorly-furnished living room and peeling paint on the walls. She made herself comfortable crossing her legs on the couch and locked her hands on her knee, smiling kindly at Mariam.

“I hope you like the baby stroller, dear,” said Margot.

“I do…but how do you know that I—”

An enormous smile spread across Margot’s face. “I had that buggy before! And I was the one who put the $1000 in it!”

“Oh my! Oh my God! It was you! Thank you so much for your concern, Mrs. Doyle. But I didn’t take that money. I sent it to the—”

“I know what you did with that money! But there’s something you need to know now.”

“What is that??” Mariam grew tense.

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“My husband and I had a daughter after many years of trying, praying, and fighting with God. She was the light of our lives that was gone too soon, leaving us in the dark. She would’ve been of your age had she been here,” Margot teared up.

“My husband couldn’t cope with her loss, and he was gone, too. Then I spent most of my life upkeeping his business and doing charity work. The stroller with the money, my dear, is just my way of helping needy mothers like you. I buy those time-worn things from the flea market, hide money in them, and return them. My husband once told me, ‘Darling, don’t let the world blind you. Not all that glitters is gold. Never blindly trust someone unless you know they have a true heart of gold!’ So, my dear, I decided to find the most honest person…”

“An honest person? I don’t understand,” Mariam interrupted.

“If someone can refuse easy money in their hard times, I’m sure I may trust any amount of money or responsibility with this person!” added Margot. “I think I found such an honest person in you, and I have an offer for you!”

Mariam gawked in disbelief when Margot then revealed she was the owner of a famous apparel brand and had come to offer Mariam a job in her company. Not just any ordinary job but a position that remained a dream for many and was far from their reach.

Surprisingly enough, the warehouse Mariam was fired from was also one of the several units owned by Margot. Fate just happened to tie a mysterious knot and bring these two women together in the most unexpected way.

“A MANAGER??!” Mariam exploded in excitement. “But I am not qualified for it. I know nothing about managing an office….”

“Don’t worry, dear. I know everything about you. You will be qualified for it very soon. Count on me!”

And so Margot enrolled Mariam in a business school and paid for a two-year associate degree in management. Then came the time when Mariam was appointed as manager of the same warehouse she was booted out.

Dexter and Frank, the two corrupted employees, still worked there and eagerly waited at the gate with a bouquet each to greet their new manager on her first day on the job. Alas, they should’ve thought twice before barking up the wrong tree and guessed very little about who was coming their way.