Story of the Day: Retired Teacher Thinks She Withdrew Her Last $5, Finds $100K in Her Bank Account

A retired woman feels devastated and lonely after losing her husband to cancer. She spent all her savings on his treatment, only to discover that a stranger deposited $100,000 in her account a few weeks later.

“I feel so lonely without you, darling. You have no idea how I spend my days alone in the house. Every corner reminds me of you,” Mrs. Johnson said while sitting in front of her late husband’s grave. She slid her fingers on his tombstone, tracing the letters of his name engraved on it.

The 65-year-old lady lost her husband to cancer after months of failed treatment. She spent every penny she had saved working as a teacher, hoping her husband’s illness wouldn’t return.

“I only have $5 left in my bank account, honey. I don’t know how I’ll survive,” Mrs. Johnson continued while fidgeting with her fingers. “You know I haven’t eaten a proper meal since you left me. I’m just surviving on leftovers and junk.”

“And Mrs. McManus might show up any day because I haven’t paid the rent,” Mrs. Johnson shook her head in disappointment. “I’d probably have to find a pensioner job to pay bills and get by without you…I don’t know how long my health will allow me to work, but I guess that’s what God wants me to do. I wish you were here with me, darling. You left me too soon!”

The older lady sat by her husband’s grave as if waiting for him to respond. What she wouldn’t do to spend a few moments with her husband! She missed him every day, and facing her life problems alone made it even worse. She wanted her husband’s advice, but she could do nothing to hear him speak again.

“I’ll see you soon then,” Mrs. Johnson said as she rose to her feet. The sun was slowly going down, leaving behind a gloomy layer of darkness that the older lady did not like. She hurried out of the graveyard and walked towards the nearest ATM to withdraw her last five dollars.

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Standing before the ATM, Mrs. Johnson inserted her card and saw her name flash on the screen, and quickly looked away. The blue brightness was too menacing for her tired eyes. Her fingers slowly moved between the numbers on the keypad as she entered her password. In no time, she saw a crisp five-dollar bill slide out of the machine. The older lady was so focused on the dollar bill that she barely looked at the screen.

What? A hundred thousand dollars?” she gasped in shock.

“I’ll buy some food with this money so I don’t starve to death. Not today, at least…” she muttered while sliding her ATM card back into her wallet. The sun had almost set when she reached the supermarket near her house. She didn’t get her hopes up, but she would try to buy much food as she could with the last dollars of her savings.

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“Do you have any discounted food items in here?” she asked the cashier inside the store.

“Yes, ma’am. You’ll find them in that corner,” the young man pointed towards the farthest aisle in the store.

“Thanks!” the older lady said before heading towards the discount corner.

Upon seeing the discounted items, Mrs. Johnson realized she could only afford food nearing its expiry or the stale coconut cookies no one else wanted to buy.

“Fair enough,” she thought while tossing the items into her cart. “At least I won’t have an empty fridge anymore.”

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Holding a bag full of about-to-expire food items, the older lady slowly walked towards her house. Upon reaching her shabby apartment door, she saw an envelope in the mailbox.

“What’s that?” she said while sliding it out. The envelope had her name written on it in bold letters.

She placed the envelope under her arm and held it tightly against her body while she fumbled with the keys to unlock the door. Once she entered the house and kept the grocery bag on the kitchen counter, she slid the envelope out and opened it.

“You are cordially invited to attend the Mid Valley High School reunion on Saturday…

” Mrs. Johnson read the invitation inside the envelope with zero intentions of attending the event. It was an invitation from the school where she had taught all her life, but she didn’t feel like going there.

“I’ve got a million problems to handle right now!” she said, tossing the invite on her work table.

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Then, the older lady cut the hardened loaf of bread she had bought from the supermarket into slices. She grabbed a few ketchup sachets that had been sitting inside the kitchen drawer for ages and checked their expiry date.

“Oh, dear!” she sighed, learning they had crossed the date. Having no other choice, Mrs. Johnson ate a few raw bread slices for the sake of filling up her stomach. She didn’t care about her meal’s taste or nutritional value.

After having dinner, the older lady picked up her phone and sat on the couch in her living room. “I really need to find a decent job,” she said while unlocking her phone. But a message notification caught her attention before she could open the web browser on her phone.

It was a notification from her bank regarding her cash withdrawal. She read the message and was about to exit it when the remaining account balance caught her attention. “What? A hundred thousand dollars?” she gasped in shock. “How is that possible?”

I should have zero dollars remaining in my bank account after I withdrew the last five bucks. I’m sure this must be a mistake! I can’t have such a huge amount in my account by any means. It doesn’t make sense!” she thought.

The next day, Mrs. Johnson visited the bank and told them about the message. “I’m sure this is a big mistake,” she said to an employee.

“Let me check your transaction history. Please take a seat, ma’am,” the young bank employee gestured for her to sit on the chair across his table.

With her arms folded, Mrs. Johnson sat on the chair before sliding her sunglasses from her eyes to the top of her head. She waited a few minutes before the young man told her something unexpected.

“Mrs. Johnson,” he said while looking at the computer screen. “The transaction history shows that your account was credited with $100,000 last month. The records show that Norma Tyler transferred the money to your account. There’s no mistake, ma’am. That money is yours.”

“Norma Tyler?” a frown furrowed the older woman’s thin brows.

“I don’t know any Norma Tyler! How is this possible?”

“The records say this amount was specifically sent for you. The transaction is in your name, Mrs. Johnson.”

“Oh,” the older lady paused momentarily as she suddenly remembered something. “Okay. Thank you.”

After thinking about all her friends, relatives, and acquaintances, Mrs. Johnson could only think of one Norma. “I have to check something at home before I can be sure who this girl is,” she said.

Upon reaching home, Mrs. Johnson hurried to the storeroom and pulled out a pile of photo albums. She sat with them on her bed and skimmed every album to find Norma―one of the students who never performed well in class.

“There she is!” Mrs. Johnson exclaimed upon finding her ex-student’s photo. However, the last name written on the picture was not Tyler. “I’m sure she’s not the Norma Tyler I’m looking for. I mean, she was from a low-income family and had so many academic problems. She can’t be the same girl.”

The school photos reminded Mrs. Johnson of how hard she worked with Norma. She wanted the girl to get good grades, but nothing worked. No matter how hard she tried to teach new concepts to the teenage girl, she would never understand a single word.

Since Mrs. Johnson was desperate to find out who Norma Tyler was, it hit her that she could attend the high school reunion to learn about Norma. “What if she’s the one I’m looking for?” the older lady thought. She hurried towards the kitchen and opened the invitation.

“The event starts tomorrow at 8 p.m.,” Mrs. Johnson told herself. “Let me find a good dress to wear at the party.”

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The following evening, Mrs. Johnson entered the venue wearing her best outfit but still felt out of place. She saw her ex-students wearing brand-new clothes and carrying expensive bags. They were not kids anymore but had grown into adults who could afford to wear good clothes, unlike their poor teacher.

Suddenly, all the heads in the room turned towards Mrs. Johnson before a round of applause broke the momentary silence.

“I think I should leave,” the older lady thought before walking towards the exit. Just when Mrs. Johnson was about to leave, she heard a woman’s voice from the stage.

“May I have your attention for a moment, everyone?” the young lady said. “My name is Norma Tyler, and I welcome you all to the Mid Valley High School reunion!”

Upon hearing the familiar name, Mrs. Johnson stopped and turned around. She instantly realized that the young woman on the stage was the same high school student who struggled with her studies. But now, Norma looked nothing like her younger self. Mrs. Johnson could see the then-shy girl now brimming with confidence, making her feel so proud. But why did Norma send her $100,000?

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“I’d like to thank all of my teachers for helping me become the person I am today. For helping me overcome my fears,” Norma continued. “I also want to apologize for not being a good student back then. I know most of my teachers felt annoyed because I could never understand those simple concepts in one go.”

“But I’d like to thank that one special teacher who never gave up on me. Mrs. Johnson,” Norma pointed towards the older lady near the exit. “Thank you for always believing in me!”

Suddenly, all the heads in the room turned towards Mrs. Johnson before a round of applause broke the momentary silence.

“I recently learned about Mrs. Johnson’s struggle after her husband’s death. I immediately decided to start an online fundraiser to help her, and in no time, you all helped me raise a hundred thousand dollars for her. Thank you, everyone!” Norma cheered. “The money has already been deposited into Mrs. Johnson’s bank account.”

“Oh my God!” Mrs. Johnson gasped as tears trickled down her cheeks. She was moved by Norma’s efforts and thought she didn’t deserve so much love. After watching her teacher cry, Norma immediately got off the stage and hugged the older lady.

“Mrs. Johnson, don’t cry, please!” Norma rubbed her teacher’s back.

“You’re the best teacher I could have ever asked for.”

It took Mrs. Johnson a few minutes before she calmed down and stopped crying. Then, Norma told her how she was able to graduate from a good university and find a good job.

“It happened all because of you, Mrs. Johnson!” Norma placed her hand over her teacher’s. “You used to teach me things that later helped me in my personal and professional life. Your faith in me helped me regain my lost self-confidence, Mrs. Johnson. Your encouraging words helped me do better academically, and look at me now! I’m working at one of the top firms in town, all thanks to you!”

“But you didn’t have to take the trouble of raising so much money, honey,” Mrs. Johnson replied. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“I considered it my duty to help the person who believed in me the most when no one else did,” Norma smiled. “You deserve it, Mrs. Johnson. I hope the money solves your problems. I wish I could do more.”

“Oh, honey!” the older lady hugged Norma. “Thank you so much for remembering me and helping me during the worst phase of my life. I can’t thank you enough for being by my side at this time.”

That day marked the beginning of Mrs. Johnson and Norma’s close bond. The older lady helped Norma look after her children, while the young woman always felt concerned for her teacher and supported her financially.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Always remember the people who helped you during your tough times.
  • A single act of kindness can create a ripple of positivity that might return to you someday.

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.

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