The Christmas Caper

Love came in a garbage bag.

Author Kristine Benevento
3 min readDec 18, 2021
Photo by Liviu C. on Unsplash

I was a single parent working two jobs. I was barely making it paycheck to paycheck. My son was 3. He and I would go to bed at the same time (7 PM), and I would get up at 10:15 PM to work my 11 PM to 7 AM shift. My father, recently divorced from my mother, moved in with me and watched my son while I worked the night shift.

It was Christmas Eve, and yes, I had to work overnight. I got up, went to my car, opened the door to drive to work, and found a garbage bag on the front seat of my car.

I yanked it out, heartbroken that someone could be so mean. I felt the seat in the darkness, hoping it hadn’t leaked everywhere, and tentatively peeked inside the bag. I mean, maybe that was Dad’s way of saying our garbage was full and to find someplace else.

Instead of smelly old garbage, I found wrapped gifts with my son’s name on them and the makings for a Christmas meal.

Stunned beyond belief and feeling a yo-yo of emotions, I ran inside and handed the bag to my Dad, and asked that he put the items under the tree or in the refrigerator.

I went to work that night wondering who it could be that would do such a thing. My faith in humanity exploded. For days, then weeks, then every month I searched to no avail to find my good samaritans. It was so interesting to walk through life, thinking anyone that knew me could be that nice person.

That thought alone made me believe in the goodness of everyone I met.

Fast forward a few years. I met a wonderful man and got married. At the wedding reception, one of the guests came up to me to tell me the secret story of their Christmas caper. He wanted me to know how wonderful the woman he loved was.

She was a middle-aged supervisor at one of my jobs. He was her white-haired boyfriend. She had never married, choosing instead to care for her mother. She had always wanted children but had never had them.

Apparently, Terry and John looked upon me as that child and treated us like family. I had absolutely no idea. She was always professional, kind and treated me the same as everyone else she met.

Since then, my husband and I have done similar things for single Moms and their children when we find them. We search out the person living alone. We find out what the elderly need, what the new widow or the Veteran needs.

My situation was a true Christmas miracle, and the love and support I felt that night was as if the good Lord himself laid his hands on my heart. #Gratitude to John and Terry.