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"If love is the greatest gift of all - and I believe it is - then the greatest privilege of all is to be able to love someone."
An Invisible Thread will help you feel more motivated to be kind to others by sharing the heartwarming story of the incredible friendship between a boy afflicted with poverty and a successful businesswoman.
There is a Chinese proverb that talks about an invisible thread that connects us with those that destiny says we will meet. Other cultures have called it a thread of fate, or strings of destiny.
Laura Schroff is a firm believer in this idea. She was a successful advertising executive who passed a young boy on the street one day. She was busy and had plenty of reasons not to stop when the 11-year-old African American Maurice asked her for spare change. But instead, she made a decision that would dramatically change both of their lives: she took him to lunch.
Something kept drawing her back to see the boy, and so she did, every week. She details her experiences and decades-long relationship with Maurice in An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny .
Get ready for a heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship! Let’s dive right in!
Maurice had tragically only known extreme poverty and had his life threatened at a young age. He didn’t see his father much because of his gang affiliation, so Maurice and his mother had to scavenge for food in trash cans. He and his siblings moved from apartment to apartment while their mother scraped together as much money as she could selling cocaine.
Schroff , on the other hand, had not had quite as tough of a past. But her own obstacles taught her the importance of a lucky break. As an alcoholic, her father had violent outbursts often. Her mother mostly ignored the problem, and he directed most of his outbursts toward his two terrified kids.
She didn’t do well in school so set out to be a flight stewardess. She was devastated when she failed the exams needed to be a stewardess, but managed to get a job as a receptionist for Icelandic Airlines.
After their first meeting, Maurice naturally thought that lunch was all he would get. But Laura couldn’t get him out of her mind and found him again. She wanted to learn his story and help him in any way she could. After this, they met once a week for lunch and established trust. Eventually, she invited him to her home for a meal, and then to baseball games .
Laura sent Maurice with a permission slip for his mother to sign allowing her to take him to the game. But when he didn’t arrive, she went to his home and saw the horrible living conditions. His mother was intoxicated, but his grandmother signed the slip, and off they went. For her safety, Maurice made her promise to never come back to his apartment.
Laura soon realized that Maurice often went hungry in the days between their meetings. She offered to leave lunch for him to pick up from her doorman. He only had one request: that his lunch came in a brown paper bag . He explained that when kids at school bring a lunch in a brown paper bag it means someone at home cares for them.
When talking about their unlikely friendship, Maurice likes to say “the Lord sent me an angel.” Laura also believes a higher power guided her to Maurice. Not long before they met, Laura’s mother said on her deathbed that she would still be looking over her when she was gone . Laura wonders if her mother pulled Maurice to her.
Laura says that helping Maurice taught her valuable lessons about resilience and courage in the face of adversity. Through her experience, she also learned the true value of money and how to be happy with whatever you have.
Laura’s help and guidance helped Maurice get out of a situation that has trapped and killed many young adults. With her encouragement, he went on to get his GED and go to college. He now owns his own construction company and is the proud father of five children. Laura’s help came at just the right time, and his story shows that it is possible to break the cycle of violence and neglect in some families. The two remain close friends to this day.
An Invisible Thread is such a great story that has so many lessons to teach. It’s really got me thinking about how I can make a bigger difference by looking at the little things I can do for the people around me. If everyone was more like Laura Schroff, the world would be a much better place.
The 51-year-old office worker who passes homeless and poor people on their way to work every day, the 33-year-old that likes hearing an inspiring story, and anyone who is curious about the benefits of caring about people more than work or things.
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