Inspirational Thanksgiving Story
- By: Healthy Beings Staff
- November 24, 2021
- 3 Min read
I thought this Thanksgiving would be like any other. Little did I know that a small, spontaneous conversation with a stranger would change me forever.
That day, I saw a boy selling a box of frozen turkeys from the side of the road, close enough to the supermarket to compete. And yet, no one stopped to buy some from him. He was small, with shabby clothes and a ragged appearance. Even as he stood beneath a shady, red-and-gold tree, he shivered, unable to find warmth in his fingerless gloves.
With fall gone away, mid-November has bled into winter. The leaves glowed brightly in golds and reds, and the temperature has turned from a mild chill to a blustering breeze. Most everyone else wore heavier coats and thick scarves, but not this boy.
As I watched him from the street corner, I wondered where he got all those turkeys and if he had at least one to spare for his own family. A part of me remembers him from another year, though then, I was just as bad as the other patrons. This time, I walked up to him.
The people bustling past give me sharp looks, intent on getting as far away from the shivering sales boy as possible.
“Hello,” he said, his eyes perking up. “Would you like to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving?”
“Of course,” I said. “How much for two?”
The boy stuttered for a moment. “Two? Wow, sir, thank you. That’ll be twenty.”
“Selling them cheap. I appreciate it.” I handed him the money with a smile. “Will you be able to make enough to bring a turkey home to your own family?”
The boy’s face faltered. “Oh, well, most likely not. We should have enough for stuffing, though! My mom, she makes the best kind—homemade from real bread—and my brothers and sisters help.”
His young excitement was infectious. “Do you live around here, son? Will you be safe getting home?”
“Oh yeah,” the boy replied trustingly. “I live just past that yard over there, behind the supermarket.” I locked my eyes on the small, white house with the red roof, forming a secret plan. My family didn’t need two turkeys, after all.
“Great, well, I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.”
“You, too, sir.”
I carried the two turkeys home in a net, whistling as I went. Before me, the rest of the neighborhood gleamed bright with early green-and-red lights and inviting cornucopias. Dusk had begun to fall, and tomorrow was the holiday, so I didn’t have long to convince everyone.
When I opened the door, my family hardly noticed everyone busy with their dishes and tasks. I placed the turkeys on the counter. “Everyone, I want to do something different this year, and I’d like to take our dinner elsewhere to a family likely in need.”
My mother eyed the two turkeys. “Is that why you got two?”
I nodded. After a moment, my mother shrugged and waved a hand. Grinning wide, I helped them prepare mashed potatoes, candied yams, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and cranberry sauce. We cooked the turkeys for most of the night, our eyes tired and our hearts full. I told them not to worry about the stuffing—there would be a better version of it where we planned to dine.
As morning’s dawn chill broke through the windows, we gathered our tin-foil-wrapped treats and headed out into the cold. All bundled up, we laughed and talked and sang, just happy to be amongst each other. No one else was on the streets.
It was quiet before the front door of the tiny house with the red roof. My family tensed, unsure what to expect. I felt them shrinking away at the look of it. Steeling myself, I knocked on the door three times.
After a second, the boy answered. He gazed up at me with confusion, then realization, as his eyes caught sight of the food.
“Hello. I hope you don’t mind, but we’ve come to share Thanksgiving dinner with you.”
“Is that—is that why you got two—” the boy started to ask, but he was cut off by his numerous family members, racing to the door and peering out. Their questions tumbled one after another, but all I said was:
“You have room for more? We brought turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, and vegetables.”
They grew quiet. Then, the boy’s mother said, “We have homemade stuffing.”
“Sounds delicious,” my mother said.
The door swung wide, and the boy’s family moved aside as mine swept inside. Everyone was talking, shouting, and laughing together now, with the boy’s table full to bursting with food. The turkeys steamed, their skins browned to perfection.
But it was the light of happiness and hope, present in the boy’s eyes, that truly made me thankful. That day I learned it is better to give back than to take for yourself.