Joseph had promised his father that he would never sell the last remaining trace of his family. But when he met a kind woman desperate to save her dying child, he had a difficult choice to make.

Joseph was a 30-year-old homeless man who begged on the street, but he could become a wealthy man in the blink of an eye.

In an undetectable corner of his tattered old bag was a tiny box that held an antique ring with a diamond the size of an almond. It was his ticket to kickstart a life of luxury. A ticket he has sworn to never cash…

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

The magnificent jewel was a family heirloom, as he learned from his father early in his childhood.

Joseph’s father was a knife sharpener who had lived a life of great hardship, a war child who provided whatever little he could for his wife and child through honest hard work.

“Don’t you ever regret it…breaking your promise to your father?” she asked one night, holding his hand.

The man would often secretly refer to “the ring” in conversations with his wife, but he didn’t reveal the true story behind it to Joseph until he was 18.

“Why can’t we just sell that thing? It would get us out of this miserable life once and for all. It’s like we’re choosing to be poor!” Joseph had blurted in anger at his aging widowed father.

“This is no ordinary ring, Joseph!” his father had said bluntly. “It was gifted to my grandfather by one of the wealthiest families of his time when he saved their daughter from drowning. It was the ring my great-grandmother preserved after his death and passed on to her son before she breathed last…” Joseph’s dad had revealed.

The story filled Joseph with momentary pride, but all that pride vanished when teenage Joseph had to go back out on the street, sharpening knives in the scorching heat.

“Someday…I’m going to convince my old man to sell the ring. Or trick him into it, if necessary!” he would think.

But his father knew him well, so he kept the ring tactfully hidden until he was on his deathbed.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

“Son, I know I haven’t necessarily been the most heroic father. I’m sure a part of you will want to take that ring to the pawn shop the day I die. It’s a hard life I’ve put you through. But it’s also an honest one.

“But remember: this ring is all that will be left of your family once I go.”

“And don’t forget that this ring was received as a blessing for an act of kindness. It’s on you to not let it go in an act of greed. I trust you, son; I know you will do the right thing.”

After his father passed, Joseph’s world fell apart quickly. The banks took over the house, and nobody needed human knife sharpeners anymore.

Within weeks, Joseph was out on the street, doing the occasional odd jobs and begging on the street. All while the one-of-a-kind ring was hidden in the corner of his bag.

Years went by, but Joseph never entertained the thought of selling the jewel again. He had promised his dying father he wouldn’t, and that word meant everything to him.

Until that chilly winter’s day when a kind woman handed him a sandwich and wouldn’t stop crying…

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

“What’s the matter, miss?” Joseph frowned with concern and offered the beautiful distressed woman a sip of warm water from his flask.

“I—I don’t know the meaning of this life anymore. My daughter, my little Anya…” she cried, collapsing onto her knees on the pavement.

The woman was inconsolable, and there was nothing Joseph could do except stroke her back to calm her down.

After a few minutes, Joseph learned the heartbreaking story of the woman. Her name was Natalie, and until a few months ago, she lived a blissful life with her husband, Stephan, and their daughter Anya.

But when Anya suddenly started fainting every day in school, their perfect world began to crumble.

“The doctors prescribed test after test, and they were finally able to detect a rare form of tumor. Most of the doctors considered it too risky to operate, and the few that are skilled enough to do it…they’re going to charge a fee that I can’t even dare to dream of!” Natalie said, covering her face with her palms.

She also revealed how Stephan had eventually gotten tired of all the running around and had left, never to return. The helpless mother was on her own, grasping at straws and praying to every known god to spare her innocent child’s life.

“There is no kindness left in this world,” she said bitterly, wiping the tears off her face. She stood up, thanked Joseph, and turned to leave.

“Wait!” Joseph said in a moment of epiphany.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

“Don’t lose hope yet. There’s something I might be able to do to help you and Anya,” he said calmly.

Natalie wasn’t sure how a homeless beggar could help her, but she was willing to embrace any possibility of a miracle for her daughter.

The next day, she was praying at the local church when she received a shocking call from the hospital.

“Ma’am, your daughter’s surgery has been paid for this morning. The specialist surgeon will be flying in from Switzerland this afternoon to perform the procedure. Please come down immediately.”

Natalie would’ve never guessed that her daughter’s savior was the homeless man she had met the day before. But when he explained that he had “some inheritance money” that would cover Anya’s treatment, she broke down in his arms.

“I don’t know how to thank you, Joseph!” Natalie hugged him with all her newfound strength.

“I’d like to see her after the procedure if that’s okay,” Joseph requested.

After six long hours of surgery, Joseph was finally able to meet the girl who was the center of Natalie’s universe.

“That band on your head makes you look so pretty! I want one, too!” Joseph whispered to the little girl, turning her frown into a shy smile.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

After months, Natalie finally felt a lot of good feelings that night. A mix of relief, joy, and another strange feeling toward the man who was bonding with her daughter.

Joseph looked into Natalie’s misty eyes, and he felt it too.

Anya’s recovery was slow but steady. For the two months that followed, Joseph spent every afternoon with the child, reading her stories and bringing her little gifts.

And every evening, Joseph and Natalie got a bit closer, eating hearty meals of Joseph’s favorite lasagna and listening to Natalie’s favorite blues playlist. Day after day, they began to open their hearts to each other a bit more, falling in love a bit more…

By the time Anya was discharged, Joseph had already become like a member of her family. He eventually moved in with them, started a small business, and two years later, he and Natalie tied the knot in a quiet ceremony at the local church.

It was only after marriage that Natalie learned of the heirloom ring that Joseph had treasured for years and sold for Anya’s treatment in a heartbeat.

“Don’t you ever regret it? Breaking your promise to your father?” she asked one night, holding his hand.

“No, I don’t. I had to go against my word and sell the ring. That said, I didn’t let it go out of greed but out of kindness. I’m sure my father would’ve approved that,” he said with tears in his eyes. “And besides, I lost merely the ring, but look what I found — a loving family!”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

What can we learn from this story?

  • Be kind, especially when it is the hardest thing to do. Joseph faced a tough decision when he learned about Anya and her desperate mother, and he made the right one by selling the ring.
  • The universe always takes care of its kind-hearted. Natalie and Joseph were both kind souls going through a dark time, and the universe connected them for life.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a mother-of-three who offers shelter to a homeless man who lost his memory, only to find out his shocking truth days later!

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to

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