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This 96-year-old woman could no longer live in her cottage because she had to go to a care home and so she decided to donate her home to a homeless person, who was always nearby. He was desperate to have a roof over his head and so he moved in in good spirits.
But what he found inside was stunning!
Steven stood in front of the house with bated breath. He could barely believe that this house was now his. He had been here so many times but this still felt like this the first time. But he would soon find out that the house was not the only surprise for him…
2. Something Out of Place
He made his way inside with the key the lawyer gave him. Looking around it immediately felt all so familiar again. Everything was as he remembered it. But there was one thing out of place that caught Steven’s attention right away…
3. “I Can’t Believe It…”
A large suitcase was lying on the table. His name was written on it. With his hands shaking he slowly opened the suitcase and his jaw instantly dropped. “I can’t believe she has done this…”
But to better understand Steven’s situation and what he found, a bit of backstory is required…
4. Meet Elly
Elly Barnes was a 96-year-old woman living in rural Alaska. She’d grown up nearby and had never felt the need to leave. She loved the area almost as much as she loved Peter, her husband of 72 years. Elly preferred the peace and quiet of the open land, and one of her favorite things to do was just sit on the porch with Peter when the seasons allowed. But soon, her simple life was about to be turned upside-down...
5. Tragedy Strikes
One day, Peter passed away unexpectedly after a short battle in the hospital. Elly was stunned. In spite of their age, she’d never stopped to really think about what might happen if Peter died first. He’d always been the healthier of the two of them. What was she going to do without him?
6. Separate Ways
Unlike Elly and Peter, their children hadn’t exactly fallen in love with Alaska. They’d chosen to move far away and head south to the continental United States. Both of Elly’s daughters offered to take her in if she wanted to move to either Boston or Dallas. But Elly couldn’t stand the thought of city life. Plus, she had roots in Alaska that no one else seemed to understand…
7. Childhood Sweethearts
Elly had moved to Alaska as a young child and met Peter on her first day of school. Back then, there wasn’t much for two kids to do except play in their yards or ride bicycles together. Their town just wasn’t that big. As they grew, Elly dreamed about marrying Peter and starting a magnificent life together. It didn’t exactly go according to plan.
8. Hard Times
Once they were married, Elly and Peter struggled to find steady work. Instead of Elly’s dream home, all they could afford was a small rancher with a single bedroom and a tiny living area. It wasn’t glamorous, but they tried to make it work by saving for repairs as often as possible. The house refused to cooperate.
9. Stubborn and Strong
By the time Peter passed away, it felt like the house had been patched and mended a million times. Elly knew that any reasonable person would have demolished it by that point, but there were too many memories to let it go. With winter coming soon, she needed help making sure that the house could survive another year of snow. But who was left to help her?
10. A Helping Hand
Luckily, Elly was able to get help from one of her neighbors who lived a 10-minute walk away. They’d been friendly for years, and they offered to see what they could do to keep the house in order. But there was so much to be done between the leaking roof and the damaged windows. And Elly’s neighbors had troubles of their own…
11. A Second Chance
Elly’s neighbors were getting up in age and couldn’t do a lot of the manual labor that Elly needed to fix the house. They also had to worry about their son, Steven, who’d moved home with them a couple of years before after being homeless for years. Steven hadn’t exactly found Elly’s beloved town to be a welcoming place.
12. Finding A Job
Steven had been trying to find a job to no avail. There were few opportunities in such a rural area, and he could never make enough to move out on his own. He hated relying on his parents for support, but without even a car, he couldn’t drive farther away in search of work. He was beginning to lose hope when his fortunes finally changed...
13. Free Time
Steven was healthy and strong enough to do a lot of the work at Elly’s house that his parents couldn’t manage. He had free time on his hands, and he started pitching in to help Elly however he could. Elly tried to pay him, but Steven always refused. He felt that he owed her a debt. After all, the two had met under terrible circumstances.
14. Inviting Steven
When Steven first returned to town, everyone in the small community knew that he’d been homeless. They judged him and wouldn’t give him a chance. He felt so alone. But Elly and Peter had welcomed him immediately and pulled him out of his slump by inviting him to dinner every once in a while. He wanted to repay her kindness any way he could. He had no idea that his decision to help would change his life forever...
15. A Good Deed
Steven kept taking care of Elly in any way he could. He went grocery shopping for her, cleaned the house, and even finished the repairs. They developed an even stronger bond. Since Steven wouldn’t accept any money, she insisted on cooking him dinner and making him a new scarf from the winter. But not everyone was pleased.
Steven’s parents weren't thrilled to see that their son was working for Elly for free. He spent so much time at her house that he didn’t have any left to apply for jobs. They’d been supporting him for years, and Steven’s lack of regular income was stretching their budget far too thin. Something would have to give...
17. The Ultimatum
Finally, Steven’s parents told him that he had to choose between helping Elly and living at home. They couldn’t continue to support him if he wasn’t going to make an effort to support himself. While Steven understood, he was also surprised that his parents weren’t more generous with Elly when she had always been so kind to everyone. It was time to make a decision.
18. The Hard Choice
Steven told his parents that he wasn’t willing to abandon Elly. They’d spent months together, and he considered her his only friend. Steven’s parents told him to pack his things and leave. They didn’t want him to be homeless again, but they didn’t know what else to do. Neither did Steven.
19. Leaving Elly Behind
Steven was at a crossroads. He knew that if he left town, he would have better opportunities in one of the bigger cities. That would mean leaving Elly behind. He could still call her and catch up, but he wouldn’t be there anymore to help her with errands. What would she do without him?
20. The Decision
Steven decided that he had to move away for his own good. His parents were thrilled and gave him enough money to get settled in a motel for a couple of weeks while he found a job. But as Steven packed, he wasn’t even worried about what the future in the city would hold. All he could think about was saying goodbye to Elly.
Steven went to break the news to Elly. She was devastated by the news. They had both grown close after spending so much time together. But Steven felt like he didn’t have any other choice with his parents in such a financial pinch. He needed to make a life for himself. He only regretted that Elly wouldn’t be such a big part of it anymore. Or so he thought...
Elly tried to get by without Steven, but she’d come to rely on his help. She was too old to do many things for herself. Her children kept urging her to leave the house behind and move south. But she’d raised her whole family in that house. It was Peter’s house, the last piece of him she had. Elly couldn’t bear to part with it, but she was beginning to believe that she wouldn’t have a choice.
23. Living alone
Elly was determined to at least give surviving alone a real chance. She went to the supermarket, kept the house clean and tried to do some repairs herself. She kept at this for about 3 weeks before something happened that made clear to her that this was simply no longer an option…
24. Fracturing her hip
While Elly was cleaning up in the kitchen, she tripped over a towel that she dropped on the ground. Elly fell and she fell hard, fracturing her hip in the process. While Elly tried to hide this at first, her family was quickly informed by the doctor and this was the final straw for them. They wanted Elly to move to a retirement home close to them.
25. No other choice
Elly had always strongly objected to this, but by this point the reality of the situation had set in. Elly knew that what she was attempting was foolish and dangerous and all she was doing was making her family worried. It was time to leave the home she had stayed in for 60 years of her life...
26. Who would get the house?
With Elly knowing she would be moving, there was only one question left. What was she going to do with the house? Elly knew she could try to sell the home, but it would obviously not bring in much money. Besides, there was only one person who was really entitled to it. Steven!
27. Getting help from a lawyer
Elly decided to bring a lawyer in to help her make sure the transfer of the home would go smoothly. She also wanted the lawyer to inform Steven about everything, because Elly knew that she would not be able to get a word out if she was the opener calling Steven. And she needed everything to be made loud and clear to him…
28. Giving the house to Steven
Elly also wasn’t even sure if Steven wanted her old house, but that didn’t really matter to her. But what she knew for sure was that he wanted what she left behind inside for him. See, the house was only a decoy to hide what Elly actually wanted to give Steven. But that had to be a surprise…
29. A big surprise
When Steven got the call from the lawyer, he was extremely surprised and somewhat unsure about what to do now. He never expected Elly to leave the house she loved so much let alone give it to him. What did he actually do to deserve this? Or was something else behind this?
30. Steven is having doubts
Elly’s gesture was almost too generous. Something in Steven told him that maybe his parents had something to do with it. Could they have wanted him to live closer to home again? The more he thought about it, the less he actually wanted to live in rural Alaska again.
31. Maybe he could sell the house
But the prospect of getting a house, no matter how bad of a stature it was in, was too good to reject. It was such a generous offer from Elly, even if his parents had something to do with it. And besides, He could always just sell it for some cold hard cash if he wanted to.
32. Difficult in the big city
It had not been an easy time for Steven ever since he moved back to the big city. He had been living on the street and besides some odd jobs, he had found any kind of opportunity, which was the main reason why he moved back to the big city, hard to come by.
33. Still felt like home
But even despite this disappointing situation, Steven felt a lot more at home in the big city and he already determined that he wanted to stay here. And with the money he could possibly get from selling the house in his pocket, he could maybe get a better start here. At least, that was his initial plan...
34. One condition
He called the lawyer back to tell him that he accepted the offer and he wanted the house. He also asked if he would be able to help him sell it. But then the lawyer informed him that the only condition was that he would visit the house at least once.
35. No explanation
Steven was somewhat taken aback and very confused by this strange condition. He wanted an explanation but the lawyer couldn’t elaborate any further on it. Or maybe he just didn’t want to. Semi reluctantly, Steven decided to accept the offer anyway. How bad could visiting the place just once be?
36. Many questions for Elly
Steven’s next move was to call Elly. He of course wanted to thank her for giving him the house and wanted to know how she was doing. Why has she moved out of the house? But he also hoped she could give him an explanation for the strange condition…
37. Not getting a hold of her
But Steven could not get a hold of Elly. No matter how often he tried. The phone just kept going to voicemail. Suddenly Steven started to worry. Could something have happened to her? Was that why he was getting the house? Could it be an inheritance?
38. What had happened?
The lawyer had not given him any explanation as to why Elly had moved out of the house, only why she wanted to give it to him. At the time he didn’t think to ask and just accepted it at face value. Could him, having visited the house have something to do with this?
39. Were his parents involved?
He first thought that Elly maybe wanted to restore the bond between him and his parents and that that is why he had to show up. Still very unsure, Steven decided he would travel to the house the very next day. The lawyer had paid for his transport to the house.
40. Straight to the house
When Steven arrives in the town, he goes straight to Elly’s house. He doesn’t want his parents to know that he’s there, so he avoids even getting close to their house. He just hopes they aren’t waiting for him at Elly’s place. But when he arrived, nobody seemed to be there.
41. A large suitcase
When he enters the house with the keys he picked up from the lawyer, he is surprised by the 2 new locks on the door. At first, it seems like there is nothing else different about the place. But then he spots that there is a large suitcase placed on the dining table...
42. Full of envelopes
Unsure if this was left here for him, he approaches the suitcase and quickly sees that his name was written on it. Steven realized that this was Elly’s doing as he recognized the handwriting. When he opened the suitcase, he quickly discovered it was full of small envelopes...
43. Tasks Steven had done
Steven picked out one of the envelopes at random. It read “For getting groceries”. Then she picked out a couple others. “For fixing the gutter”, “For cleaning the kitchen”, “For taking her for a walk”. All things that Steven had done for Elly and Peter over the years.
44. They are filled with money!
But now the best part comes. In all the envelopes was a bit of money! Bills ranging from 10 to 20 to even 50 pounds at some point! After Steven unpacked all of them and counted the money, he concluded that it came out to a total of about 15.000 dollars!
45. Calling Elly
Still semi in shock, Steven decided to try and give Elly a call again. To his surprise, she did pick up the phone this time! Elly explained that he had earned all this over the past 2 years but never accepted it. So this was her way of paying Steven back for all his kindness and help.
46. Steven in tears
Steven was absolutely brought to tears by this. This money would change his life forever. And on top of that, he was extremely relieved that Elly was still alive. With the money, Steven would end up moving to Anchorage and get an apartment there.
47. Turning his life around
Having a somewhat solid base now Steven was able to completely turn his life around. He fairly quickly found a job and started working himself up through the ranks. He also met his current girlfriend soon after and the two are now even living together and planning on starting a family.
48. Still owning the house
The relationship with his parents also improved with some time passing and he now goes to visit them almost once a month. And when he is in town, he would always go past Elly’s house to fix it up where needed. He still owns the house and rents it out to a local couple, who are starting their own family there.
49. Seeing Elly again
Steven would see Elly one more time before she passed away. He went to visit her in the retirement home about 6 months after she had given him the house and the money. He could call a million times, but he had to thank her at least once in person. Thank the person who changed his life forever.