‘I’m Waiting for Mom,’ Girl Says to Park Janitor, Next Day He Sees Her Still Sitting at Same Spot

A park janitor meets a lonely little girl who says she is waiting for her mom. He is surprised when he sees her again the next day, still sitting on the same bench, and calls the police.

Albert Fairchild was the custodian of a lovely old Victorian park in the middle of the city, and his time was spent making sure it was a little corner of heaven, a place where lovers met, and people went to get in touch with nature or for a little peace of mind.

He loved his job. Every day he wandered through the park, raking the paths, emptying the bins, and making sure everything was perfect, and twice a week, the city gardeners came around to take care of the lawns, trees, and plants.

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One afternoon, Albert saw a little girl sitting quietly at one of the park’s picnic tables, coloring in a picture book. She was surely no more than four or five, but she was all alone! Albert looked around, but he couldn’t see her parents. Something had to be wrong…

Albert approached the little girl and greeted her. “Hello there, little miss. What are you doing out here all on your own? Trying to catch the fairies?”

The little girl looked up at Albert. “You’re a stranger, and I’m not supposed to talk to strangers,” she said.

“No, you are not,” Albert agreed. “But you’ll see I’m not asking you to go anywhere with me, and I’m not offering you candy. I just want to know where your mom is and why you’re alone.”

“I’m waiting for mom,” the child said. “She had a job interview across the road, and she asked me to wait here for her. Mom said not to talk to strangers and not to go anywhere. I have my juice and a snack, and she will be back very soon!”

Nothing is impossible, so keep going until you accomplish what you want.

Albert frowned. It wasn’t exactly safe to leave a child in a public park, but he knew that sometimes single moms with no resources or family had to do the best they could — and it sounded as if this mom was unemployed and desperate to boot.

“What’s your name, little miss?” Albert asked.

The girl giggled. “My name is Margaret,” she said.

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“That’s a HUGE name!” exclaimed Albert. “It’s three times as big as you are!”

“My mom calls me Meg,” she confessed, laughing. “And I DON’T believe in fairies!”

Albert gasped and clutched at his heart. “I’m shocked, little miss Meg!” he laughed. “I believe in fairies. In fact, I see them all the time! I have to chase them away from the fountains ’cause they insist on taking showers and breaking the rainbows!”

Meg was grinning. “That’s a LIE!” she giggled. “That’s BAD!”

“Well,” Albert said. “I have a lot of work to do, but I’ll be keeping an eye on you, making sure the fairies don’t pull your pigtails. If you need me, Meg, just holler, and I’ll come running, OK?”

Albert walked away, but he kept glancing back over his shoulder. He wished he had a little person just like Meg in his life, a little granddaughter, but he knew it was not to be.

He could not help but pause his work and silently cry as the little girl reminded him of his own granddaughter and the fateful tragedy that toppled his life.

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Five years ago, Albert was a cop who loved his duty more than anything else. At home, he was a loving and caring husband, a doting father, and an adorable grandfather. “But if it had not been for that day…” Albert reminisced about the fateful day.

It was a pleasant Sunday in May that year. Albert’s family was leaving on a much-awaited dream vacation by the sea in the neighboring city. He had taken a week off to enjoy himself with his family. Albert still remembered his granddaughter Emily running back inside to bring her teddy bear, Chelsea.

“How happy she was that morning!” he thought. Her laughter still haunted him because he never got to see her again. Albert wanted to drive and wouldn’t leave the driver’s seat even when his son-in-law, Josh, persuaded and pleaded.

“It’s your day, dad! I will drive. You need to rest and enjoy this trip,” he told Albert, who refused to get down from his minivan. Albert would’ve never moved out if it were not for a sudden call from the station.

“I’m on my way,” he spoke. “I got to go. I got an important lead for an investigation. You guys get going. I’ll catch up tomorrow evening!” he told his family. They were disappointed, especially little Emily. She wanted to sing songs and play with Albert.

“Sweetie, grandpa will be there tomorrow. It’s just a day!”

Albert and Emily blew endless flying kisses as the minivan sped past the gate. Albert left for work immediately, and it was almost time to return home in the evening when he got a call from the city station.

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An hour later, he was taken to the morgue in the city hospital. His heart dropped when four stretchers were wheeled out, the last was Emily’s. His whole world was destroyed in a car crash.

“The minivan lost control and rammed into a truck,” officers told him, patting his shoulder. In a wink, Albert had lost his family, and there was no coming back. No more laughter. No more vacations. And no more loud cries of a little girl shouting, ‘Grandpa! I’m home!’

Albert could not forgive himself. “I should have driven that minivan. I shouldn’t have allowed Josh to drive it,” he thought and cried over a million times. But nothing was going to change.

“Jose, I should’ve canceled that trip. I should’ve never let them go,” he cried to his best friend at the funeral, placing Emily’s teddy bear, Chelsea, on her grave.

Days, months, and five years passed. These questions still haunted Albert, but it didn’t matter to him. He knew he had lost his family forever. They were not going to come back; it was the ugly truth he had learned to embrace over time.

Albert could not focus on his work. The cop job he loved became a constant reminder of his tragic life. He quit it and started taking care of the park. He just wanted to stay away from everything that reminded him of his loss.

A gush of wind snapped Albert to the present as he wiped away his tears. The evening sun irritated his teary eyes as he looked around for the little girl. “Where is she??” he exclaimed when he saw Meg was not in her place.

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Albert hastily looked around the park for the girl. But she was not there. “Maybe her mother took her,” he thought. Convinced Meg had gone home, Albert finished raking the lawn and went home.

But the following morning, when he returned to the park, he saw Meg again, sitting in the same spot, wearing the same dress, and holding her teddy. Albert was stunned.

“Hey, there, little miss!” he greeted the girl. “What are you doing here so early?”

“Mommy didn’t come,” she disappointedly said. “She never came for me.”

“What?? Where did you go last evening, then? And where did you sleep?”

“Home,” Meg replied, resting her teary face on her teddy. She refused to look up at Albert. She was least interested in talking to him and kept looking around to see if her mother had come to take her.

“What happened to her mother?” Albert wondered.

“Hey, there, I’m a former policeman. You can trust me, alright?” he said. “I’m afraid your mother got lost in this huge city. Can you take me to your home? We will find your mother, alright?”

But Meg wouldn’t move. Her strong belief her mother would come for her didn’t let her move from that bench.

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“Meg, listen, I know you are frightened. But there’s nothing to be afraid of. You can trust me, okay? What’s your mother’s name?”

When Meg told Albert her mother’s name, she had difficulty pronouncing the surname. Albert asked Meg to repeat the word several times because he knew he could not search for her mother without knowing the surname. He needed her full name to probe everywhere, including online databases. After hearing Meg out repeatedly, Albert guessed her mom’s surname could be ‘D’Cruz.’

“Listen, we need to go to your home. Do you want to see your mother?”

“Yes, I want to see mommy,” Meg replied, finally looking at Albert.

“Then take me to your house.”

Moments later, Meg led Albert to a tarp tent under a secluded bridge not far from the park’s entrance. “This is my home,” she pointed.

Albert partially understood Meg and her mother were homeless. He inspected the tarp tent that barely had an old mattress and a camping stove with a pot smelling of stale porridge. There were a few old clothes of Meg’s in the tent, but no photos or pictures. At first glance, he thought Meg’s mother could’ve abandoned her. But something still didn’t add up to him.

“How long have you been living here?” he asked the girl.

“Few weeks,” replied Meg. “We once had a big house. But big, angry men in uniform shouted at my mommy for not giving money. Mommy cried, and even I cried. They threw our things out, and mommy brought me here.”

Albert once again checked the tent for clues but apparently found nothing that could help him find Meg’s mother. “Do you have your mother’s photo?”

“No, I had one, but it’s with mommy.”

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Albert was puzzled about what to do next. “I cannot leave the girl alone here,” he thought, and before he could fathom anything, Meg asked him to take her back to the park.

“Mommy told me to wait there and not go anywhere. If she comes, she will scold me. Please take me to the park.”

Albert did not know what to do and agreed. Meg and he returned to the park, and he sat her down on the bench. Albert knew Meg would have starved the whole night, so he gave her his lunch.

“Mommy told me not to eat from strangers,” Meg refused, but her eyes and nose couldn’t deny the delicious aroma of the pie in Albert’s lunch box.

Ummm, that tastes delicious. Sweet. Ummm,” Albert ate a spoonful in front of Meg. “If you don’t want it, I’ll eat it fully. I can finish the whole pie in two minutes. You sure you don’t want it?!”

Meg grabbed the lunchbox and started devouring the pie. Albert was pleased his trick worked and went on with his work while Meg waited for her mother.

Hours passed, and it was close to sundown, but her mom never came. Meg burst into tears, and Albert’s heart wouldn’t allow him to leave her alone again.

“Do you want to go home with me? We will come back tomorrow and wait for your mother, alright?” he asked Meg.

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Meg agreed and went home with Albert. “Yeah, I only know her name is Margaret. But I don’t have a clue about her mother. Could you please let me know? She said her mom has blonde hair, is tall, age must be around 24 or 25, I guess,” Albert informed his former colleagues in the department.

Meg could not spell her mother’s name accurately and gave vague descriptions of her appearance. But Albert could not say anything for sure. He made out a name and a surname using Meg’s broken spellings but was unsure if it was correct.

“When will mommy come?” Meg asked Albert.

“She will come soon, sweetie. Now go to that room and change your dress. You’ll find a lot of clothes in the little cupboard. I’ll make dinner meanwhile.”

Meg returned minutes later wearing Emily’s pajamas. She ran around Albert as he whisked the eggs and giggled to an old song playing on the gramophone. For the first time in five years, Albert never felt lonely.

Albert was on the phone the whole night as Meg slept in Emily’s room. He wanted to find her mother at any cost and was busy working at it with his friends.

“No, pal,” an officer called him late at night. “We even checked reports of murders of young women with similar descriptions and surnames, but no lead. There were no instances reported recently.”

Albert sighed, assured Meg’s mother was alive somewhere. While putting out the lights in Emily’s room, he saw Meg curled up and fast asleep on her bed.

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Albert was up until the wee hours, gathering contact details of hospitals in the city. He suddenly woke up when the morning rays irritated his sleepy eyes. He was exhausted and had slept off in his armchair.

“Oh my God, Meg??” he ran to check on her, thinking she would’ve gone to the park alone while he was dozing. “Jesus, thank goodness!” he sighed when he saw she was still fast asleep.

Albert then contacted every hospital in the city to find out about Meg’s mother. He even reached out to a friend in the morgue, but nothing helped. Nobody had heard about the woman with his description and surname.

Albert was puzzled about what to do next. “Cops will hardly try and carefully look for a homeless woman. And if I have to send her to a foster home, she’ll likely never see her mother again,” he thought. Then, Albert realized that the only reliable way to help Meg was to search for her mother on his own. It was not for nothing he was a cop for 30 years.

Albert brought Meg to the park every day and sat her in the exact spot her mother last left her. He asked his friends to watch over her while he searched for the missing woman. Albert knew he could not do all this while working, so he took a few days off.

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He first started visiting all the homeless shelters in the city and neighboring towns. “Her name is Candy D’Cruz… Do you know someone with that name?” he asked almost everyone he encountered.

He checked with all the offices that had a “We’re Hiring” sign to find out if Meg’s mother had, by chance, attended any interviews. He even checked in several refuges he knew of, but nothing turned up. Nobody had seen a woman with the name Candy D’Cruz.

Albert even searched on social media and showed Meg the photos of several women with similar names, but none of them was her mother. He checked every street and traffic camera near the park but could not find a clue.

A month passed, and Albert almost lost hope of finding Meg’s mother. All his attempts were fruitless. But Meg never gave up and refused to do anything other than visit the park daily, waiting for her mother from dawn to dusk.

“How will mommy find me if I’m not there,” she often argued with Albert. One morning, as they left for the park, it started raining.

“Sweetie, I’ll take you to the park tomorrow. You’ll catch a cold,” Albert told Meg, but she was stubborn.

“No, we’ll go and wait there. Mommy will come,” she said.

Albert could not convince her. They took a bus to the park as they could not walk in the rain. The route was longer and passed several stations. And while crossing one such station, Meg started shouting.

“There she is! There is mommy!”

Albert was startled. “Where??” he rose from his seat. He thought she’d confused somebody else for her mother but still asked the driver to stop the bus.

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Albert quickly helped Meg out of the bus and hastily looked around at all the women he noticed. “Where is she??” he asked her.

Meg tugged his arm to a billboard on a sidewalk and pointed, shouting, “There…That’s my mommy!”

“Where? Which one??” Albert asked her.

“There…the second from the left…She’s my mommy…She’s my mommy!!”

The words on the billboard read: “Do You Know Me? Please Call On This Number” next to the name “Cadence Delacruz.” He gasped in shock after learning Meg’s mother’s name was Cadence, not Candy.

“What is written there?” Meg interrupted.

“It’s an advertisement for lost people,” he told her.

“What is that? What does it mean??”

“It means we are going to find your mother!!” Albert carried Meg cheerfully as he called the number on the billboard.

“City hospital,” the attendant answered. “Yes, she was admitted here.”

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When they got to the hospital, they were told Meg’s mother had already left. “Mommy has gone? Where did she go?” Meg started to cry.

“Sweetie, hold on…One second,” Albert comforted her.

“How did she come here? What happened to her?” he asked the nurse.

“She was brought here with a severe head injury over a month ago. She’d suffered from a traumatic brain injury that caused amnesia,” the nurse said.

“Where is she? We want to see her,” Albert asked her.

“She needed expensive treatment. She was in a coma for a few weeks and could not recall anybody when she woke up. Nobody came to take her. We even advertised her name and picture, but nobody turned up. She was discharged last week and sent to a shelter for the homeless.”

Albert was afraid Meg would lose her mother again. He then rushed to the shelter with the girl.

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Meg clutched Albert’s little finger as she looked around for her mother. Then she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her toward a bed in a corner.

“MOMMY!!” she cried and ran to her mother. “Mommy, where did you leave me and go?”

Cadence had a photo of them together and remembered Meg was her daughter as soon as she saw her and heard her call her mommy.

“I don’t know, sweetie,” she burst into tears.

Albert was speechless and moved at seeing Meg laughing and crying with her mother. “You need to come with me,” he interrupted.

“Where? And who are you?” Cadence asked.

“I’m Albert. I’m a janitor in the park. I found your daughter…” he paused. “I’ll explain everything later. You and Meg need to come home with me now.”

Albert took Cadence home and offered to stay in his house as long as she wanted. He spent all his savings on her treatment. It took several months before Cadence could recall some crucial moments of her life. Being around her daughter helped her to a great extent. Gradually, Cadence remembered everything, and Albert was curious to know how she had hurt herself.

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“My husband had mortgaged our house,” she recalled. “I was not able to pay the loan after he died in an accident. Our house was taken, and then I rented a small room with my daughter. I lost my job, and my landlord kicked us out for not paying rent.”

After she was stranded on the street, Cadence could not find a job almost immediately. She did not want her daughter to live in the shelter for the homeless, so they temporarily camped in the tarp tent under the bridge.

Albert felt sorry for Cadence and sighed with relief things ended well for her and Meg. “But how did you get hurt?” he asked her.

Cadence recalled that fateful day and broke down.

“I was going for a job interview. I left my daughter in the park because I thought leaving her alone in the tent would be unsafe. I told her to wait there until I came,” Cadence revealed.

“I remember I slipped and fell in the underpass. My head hit the edge of the staircase, and I blacked out. When I woke up, I was in the hospital. I could not remember anything.”

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“I’m glad you are safe, my dear. And I’m really happy Meg found you. She missed you so much,” Albert teared up.

Cadence and her daughter lived with Albert until she found a job. A few months later, she dated Frank, a widower with two children, and married him.

Cadence and Meg moved into their new house and were always thankful to Albert for his help. He was happy for them, although he knew he would miss Meg terribly.

Time passed, but Meg and her mother never forgot Albert. They became a part of his family and constantly visited him on the weekends, and every summer, they even vacationed together by the sea.

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What can we learn from this story?

  • Nothing is impossible, so keep going until you accomplish what you want. Despite having little to no leads in tracking down Meg’s mother, Albert never gave up. Ultimately, he reunited the lost little girl with her mother.
  • Only light can drive out darkness; Only love can drive out sorrow. Albert was distraught after losing his family in an accident. His life was a dark hollow until he met little Meg in the park.

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