An elderly couple spends their last funds to ensure their grandson has a good education, but when graduation day arrives, he does not invite them. The pair decides to find out why and discovers something shocking.
Hugh Ferguson was raised by his grandparents, Ellis and Jeff, since he was a young boy of 8. Hugh’s parents had died in a car accident years ago while returning from a friend’s party in Mexico, after which his grandparents got custody of him.
Hugh’s grandparents had no financial problems raising him because they had retired from high-paying jobs. Besides, they were thrilled to have the opportunity to be a parent again after their children had moved out and settled with their respective families.
As a result, they did their best for Hugh and never let him feel unloved. But Hugh began abusing his grandparents’ love, and his demands only grew with time.
Still, Ellis and Jeff never said no to him because they pitied him for losing his parents at a young age. However, when Hugh was in his final semester of university, the couple’s savings were depleted, and they feared they couldn’t support him any longer…
“What are we going to do, darling?” Ellis sighed, laying her head on her hand when she received communication about Hugh’s tuition.
“There’s no need to worry, Ellis,” Jeff said. “I asked around, and I believe we’ll be able to cover the required amount.”
“Did you ask several people?” Ellis gave him a troubled look. “How are we going to repay them? You’re aware that the fees are significant!”
“That boy lied to us, Jeff!” Ellis said. “Hugh’s graduation is only three days away, and he hasn’t told us anything about it.”
“Oh, stop being such a worrywart, darling!” Jeff said, waving his hand. “It’s only a semester! We can get through this. Not to mention that our grandson is studying at one of the best colleges in the country! He’ll make us proud when he graduates with honors. And when we see him wearing his graduation hat, it will all be worth it!”
Somehow, Jeff’s mention of Hugh’s graduation made Ellis forget about her concerns, and they borrowed money from one of Jeff’s acquaintances to cover Hugh’s university fees.
Months passed, and Hugh’s graduation was finally approaching. Jeff and Ellis were anxiously waiting for the big day and had begun making preparations for it. Jeff had already searched through his wardrobe for his favorite suit so he could have it sent to the dry cleaners.
Ellis gave him a teary-eyed smile. “Oh, Jeff, it’s going to be so special! It seems like just a while back when we started raising him and now he’s graduating! I’m sure his parents would’ve been proud of him… Oh, if only they were here to support him!”
Jeff threw his arms around her and comforted her. “I know, wherever they are, they’d be as proud as we are, Ellis. Just a few more days, and we’ll witness the proud moment!”
However, days passed, and there appeared to be no information from Hugh’s side regarding the graduation. In fact, when he called, Ellis and Jeff realized he was purposefully avoiding the topic.
That night, after talking to Hugh, Ellis decided to check the university’s official website for the graduation dates, and what she saw made her head roll. “Jeff!” she yelled at him from the living room. “Come here right now!”
Jeff, who was busy reading his book, grumbled before heading over to the living room. “Ughh, what is it now?”
“That boy lied to us, Jeff!” Ellis said. “His graduation is only three days away, and he hasn’t told us anything about it. Look at this!” she said, rotating the laptop towards him.
“What?” Jeff couldn’t believe it. “Why didn’t he invite us? That’s odd.”
“I’m surprised too, Jeff. Should we just ask him why?”
But Jeff refused.”No way, Ellis I’m afraid Hugh is keeping something from us. Didn’t you notice how he sounded on the phone? You know what, pack your bags!” he declared abruptly. “We’re going to his university tomorrow!”
“But Jeff…” Ellis didn’t get to finish.
“We don’t have another option, Ellis. Check for the tickets so we can go meet him…”
On the way to Hugh’s school, Ellis and Jeff were terrified because they couldn’t figure out why Hugh wouldn’t invite them to such an important day in his life. Sadly, when they arrived, they discovered Hugh had been expelled just after his first semester!
“But where did he spend all of our money?” Ellis asked Jeff, then a voice interrupted from behind. “Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins, why are you here today?”
When Jeff and Ellis turned back, they noticed a young man in his twenties standing behind them. “Hello, my name is Peter! Sorry, I overheard you discussing Hugh. Hasn’t he told you that after being expelled, he moved into a rented house?”
Ellis glanced at him, speechless. “How do you know us?”
“My bad, I didn’t introduce myself properly. Hugh and I happen to be good friends! I’ve seen your pictures on his phone several times…He talks a lot about you two! He left college long ago, but we still stay in touch. I can give you his address if you want to see him.”
Ellis and Jeff exchanged a worried glance, surprised that Hugh had kept so much hidden from them. “That would be extremely thoughtful of you, Peter,” Jeff replied and Peter handed them the address.
When Ellis and Jeff arrived at Hugh’s place, they were surprised to see him living in a run-down neighborhood in a small house. They knocked on the door with a heavy heart, and Hugh answered it. He was shocked to see Ellis and Jeff there.
“Gran and Grandpa! What are you doing here?”
“Do you think you can hide things from us, Hugh? What are you doing here? And where have you been spending all the money we sent you if you haven’t been going to school?!” Jeff asked sternly.
Hugh dropped his head in shame. “I’m sorry, Grandpa,” he said quietly. “I apologize for disappointing you and Gran. But I didn’t have a choice… Please come in. I have to tell you something that I don’t think I can keep from you any longer.”
Hugh got them some tea and biscuits as they settled in, and then he revealed his story…
It turned out Hugh was expelled for his absenteeism. He was too afraid to reveal the truth for fear of being chastised by Jeff and Ellis, so he kept receiving the money they sent him and rented a small house with it.
Later, in order to stay afloat, he began working a couple of low-wage jobs. The true tragedy struck when his girlfriend Natalie became pregnant recently. He was planning to finish his degree, but he couldn’t return to university since he needed to continue working to support her and their child.
“I’m sorry I disappointed you guys…Like, I really didn’t want to, but I had no choice but to continue working. Nat isn’t home right now…she’s at work, and we’re both doing our best to support our child. I’m sorry, I’ve been a terrible person to you both.”
“Well, there’s no doubt about that,” Jeff said firmly. “You lied to us, Hugh, and we’re upset about it… However… we’re also proud of you. At least, I am…”
Ellis and Hugh exchanged confused looks, unable to grasp what Jeff was saying.
“You’re proud of me? But why?” Hugh asked him.
“Didn’t you just say you took parental responsibility for your child, Hugh? Trust me, if I were in your circumstances, I would have been concerned about how to go ahead. But you gave up everything for it, Hugh. That’s why I’m so proud of you!”
“What’s the point, Grandpa?” Hugh said sadly. “No matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to meet the expenses. Nat is six months into her pregnancy, and she’s still working. Then there’s the delivery expenses and everything else…I don’t know what to do now…”
“That’s why you should never keep secrets from your family, Hugh,” Jeff said and patted his grandson’s shoulder. “You see, we don’t have any funds to help you with your studies right now. We actually borrowed the money for your final semester. But we can help you with your child…”
“What? You took a loan?” Hugh was almost teary-eyed.
“That’s okay, Hugh,” Jeff consoled him. “We’ll figure out how to repay it. But we suggest you move in with us…See, you can at least save up on the rent if you stay with us. And well, we’d like to talk to Natalie as well about it. Right, Ellis?”
“Your grandfather is right, Hugh,” she smiled. “You are our grandchild, and while we’re upset with you, we still love you.”
“Thank you so much! I love you guys!” Hugh said and embraced them. “I’m so sorry again for letting you down and disappointing you. I am very sorry…..Nat will be home soon. She’d be so happy to meet you two!”
“We love you too, darling. Now let’s wait for Natalie to be back home, okay?” Ellis said, patting his back.
When Natalie returned home, Jeff and Ellis suggested the same idea to her. She was delighted to meet them and thanked them for stepping in to help them.
Jeff and Ellis lived with Natalie and Hugh at their home for over a month until Natalie got a transfer to Hugh’s hometown.
Once there, Hugh began looking for better jobs while Ellis and Jeff started their own small homemade bakery business, with Ellis in charge of the baking and Jeff in charge of the delivery.
The whole family managed to produce a solid monthly income and paid off the loan they had taken out for Hugh’s college. Meanwhile, Hugh began working part-time while attending a local college to complete his degree. He worked hard to secure a scholarship, and it paid off.
Two months later, Hugh and Natalie welcomed their baby, Ava, and Jeff and Ellis stepped in to look after her while Natalie and Hugh were busy with work.
It took four more years for Hugh to be well settled to look after his family independently, but he did it. He got a good job when he graduated, and he even returned all the money he’d borrowed from Jeff and Ellis, who continued to run their bakery business.
Later, another good news knocked on the Jenkins’ doorstep, when Natalie and Hugh welcomed triplets.