Mom Leaves Daughter in Wheelchair with Stepdad, Returns Years Later and Doesn’t Recognize Her — Story of the Day

After Michelle’s mom abandoned her with her stepdad, the teenage girl vowed to prove she wasn’t a burden by becoming successful. After overcoming many obstacles, Michelle crossed paths with the woman who left her behind.

Michelle didn’t realize something was wrong until her stepdad, Eugene, started crying. They’d just arrived home and found a note from Mom on the coffee table.

“Michelle, don’t,” Eugene warned the girl as she navigated her wheelchair through the gap between the sofa and the armchair and grabbed the note…

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

“I can’t do it anymore, Eugene. But I tried my best to care for Michelle. That burden has taken the best years of my life from me. Now that she’s 16, it’s time I pursue my dream of becoming an actress before it’s too late…”

“And what about you? Am I a burden to you too?” Michelle asked Eugene in tears, not having the courage to read the rest of the note.

“Never, Shelly! Never!” Eugene rushed over to her and wrapped his arms around her. “I love you like my own, and I’ll never abandon you.”

Michelle returned his hug, but Mom’s words lingered in her thoughts.

“I want you to remember that you’ve done nothing wrong, Shelly,” Eugene wiped Michelle’s tears with his thumbs. “This is…well, it’s an awful and shocking thing that’s happened, but we’ll carry on without her, okay?”

Michelle nodded, but she couldn’t just “carry on.” She had to prove her mother wrong, and she was determined that one day when she was wildly successful, she’d hire a detective to find Mom and then flaunt her achievements in Mom’s face.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Michelle worked hard and graduated at the top of her class. She was offered scholarships from several colleges but chose to pursue a major in film studies.

“Are you sure that’s what you want?” Eugene was surprised by her decision as he ate his dinner. “I’m concerned you’re choosing a film for all the wrong reasons.”

Michelle stopped eating and looked at him. “I want to be a director, Eugene. What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing, Shelly…so long as you’re not doing it ’cause of your mother.”

“She has nothing to do with it,” Michelle lied and focused on eating again. She’d never admit to Eugene, or anyone else, that she often imagined her mother staring at her in shock after appearing to audition for a movie Michelle was directing.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

When Michelle entered her class, other students stared at her openly. They whispered behind her back and laughed at her. Michelle didn’t think much about it until a few days later.

The instructor asked about the movie the class had watched the day before. Lila, the girl with magenta hair, answered with a ridiculous rant about physical film being superior to digital shooting.

”I disagree,” Michelle said. “I think both have their pluses and minuses. Although there’s a certain look and feel you can only get from physical film, digital allows you a greater range of editing options that might be more suitable for the project you’re filming.”

Lila’s eyes flickered with anger as she blurted, ”Digital can never beat the authenticity of a movie shot on actual film.”

”Well, you can shoot silent movies in monochrome if you like, but everyone else is in the twenty-first century.” Many students laughed at Michelle’s reply and started teasing Lila.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The instructor broke up the argument and urged the students to return to the topic, but Lila glared at Michelle for the remainder of the class.

After classes finished for the day, Lila and her friends cornered Michelle in an empty corridor.

”You don’t belong here. I want you out of my class,” Lila snarled as she loomed over Michelle.

“Your class? Get over yourself!” Michelle turned and forced her wheelchair through a gap between two of Lila’s friends.

”Not so fast.” Lila had a tight grip on Michelle’s wheelchair handles and was now steering her toward a utility closet.

”Hey, let me go! What are you doing?” Michelle couldn’t turn efficiently with her front wheels off the ground.

”Showing you who’s in charge here,” Lila replied. ”I didn’t come to film school to listen to hacks like you.”

”You’re insane! Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean you get to stuff me in a closet!” Michelle reached back and tried to pry Lila’s hands off her wheelchair.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

“Oh, don’t I? There’s no way I’ll listen to your bull in film classes! Not if I can help it. And the next time you wanna cut me off, think about this moment right here.” Lila grinned as she closed the closet room door and turned the light off.

”I don’t think you should return to college until that girl has been expelled,” Eugene told Michelle later that day. Thankfully, a janitor found her half an hour later and called campus security.

“I’ve already pressed charges,” Michelle took Eugene’s hands. “I won’t let her get away with this. And thank you, Eugene, for being there whenever I needed you.”

“I want to remind you that nothing is certain here, Michelle. Even the strongest case can be shrunk when it reaches judges and jury,” Michelle’s lawyer, Mr. Abubakar, said as he studied her paperwork. “That girl comes from a well-off family, Michelle, and I’m sure she’ll be appearing with an entire stable of lawyers. Are you sure you’re up for this?”

“Yes. I’m not afraid of a fight, sir,” Michelle said. “Even if she gets away with this, I’ll at least know I did everything in my power to see her get punished.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The next week, Michelle met Mr. Abubakar to discuss their strategy. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve done some research on my end too.” She offered him a folder.

“This is useful. In fact, you’ve done a good job here, like a trained paralegal. Are you taking law classes?” he asked.

Michelle shrugged. “I have just a knack for research. By the way, do you know him? He’s a famous actor, right?” She pointed to a frame on the wall lined with framed handwritten notes and other photo frames.

“I used to be a junior partner in a bigshot entertainment firm. But I soon realized I was helping the strong bully the little folks into deals that didn’t benefit them. So I left.”

When Michelle finally appeared in court, she realized Mr. Abubakar was right. Lila appeared with a team of four lawyers who were bent on getting the case dismissed. But despite Lila’s lawyer’s efforts, the court decided in Michelle’s favor.

“OMG, Mr. Abubakar, we won! Thank you for helping me!” Michelle cried to her lawyer outside the courtroom.

“Didn’t I tell you I was all in for little guys getting a fair chance,” he said. “This is something you could do, too. You have a knack for law. You don’t belong among the cruel people in the arts section of your college, Michelle.”

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Michelle liked Mr. Abubakar’s suggestion, but she couldn’t quit arts. She had to become a director and prove her mother wrong.

But when Michelle returned to college, she realized that although Lila had been expelled, her friends clearly held a grudge against Michelle and were determined to make her suffer.

Several students snickered when Michelle passed them on her way to class. Then she saw a second group of students who openly pointed at her and burst out laughing. Michelle saw the posters—her face photoshopped on naked women’s bodies. She burst into tears and turned, wheeling away as fast as she could.

“You were right,” Michelle called Mr. Abubakar as soon as she got home. “The other kids are targeting me, and the administration doesn’t seem to care.”

“Do you want to fight them again?” he asked.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

“I want to fight everyone who is cruel and bullies others. I’ve decided to become a lawyer like you, Mr. Abubakar. Will you mentor me?”

“I’d be honored, Michelle,” he said. And seven years later, Michelle became a lawyer. She completed her law degree and worked in a firm for two years. Then she started her own practice and made a good living. However, her health suffered.

Surgery for her medical condition hadn’t been viable before due to the risks, but now Michelle had no choice. After taking an extended leave to recover from surgery and complete her rehabilitation program, Michelle returned to her office.

She parked her wheelchair in the corner of the room and slowly walked to her desk to sit in her brand-new office chair. Her first client arrived soon and distracted Michelle from her inner turmoil.

”Is it true that you help people for free if they can’t afford to pay you?” Michelle’s mother, Iris, asked. ”I don’t have a job, and I don’t have any money.”

Michelle was shocked as she looked at the woman’s face. Her mother didn’t recognize her?

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Michelle thought about how, as a teenager, she’d worn her dark hair short in a boyish cut so it was easier to care for, and she wore glasses all the time because she was so short-sighted. Was that all it took to fool a mother who hadn’t seen her child for years?

”I guess I was mistaken,” Iris rose to leave, but Michelle gestured to her to wait.

“No, you’re right…I–I do work pro bono. How can I help you?”

Iris had crashed into an influential businessman’s luxury car while driving drunk, and the man’s lawyers intended to throw the book at her. Michelle had often daydreamed about the day when she’d find Iris helpless, but why did she not feel satisfied?

“We can push for a reduced sentence,” Michelle suggested. “I’ll need more details, but first, let me offer you something to drink?”

Michelle stumbled as she returned with refreshments for them. Iris quickly caught her elbow. “You okay?” Iris asked.

“Guess I’m still getting used to walking,” Michelle pointed to the wheelchair in the corner, but Iris still didn’t recognize her.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Michelle met with Iris several times leading up to the court date. Each time, Michelle wondered if that would be the day her mother recognized her, but she never did.

The judge lowered the sentence in Iris’s case to a year in prison or a fine. Michelle was satisfied, but when she turned to Iris, the woman was in tears.

”I still have no money to pay the fine,” Iris sobbed.

”If the court permits it, I’d like to pay the fine on my client’s behalf so she can go home immediately.”

”Why would you do this for me?” Iris wrapped her hand around Michelle’s wrist.

“This may refresh your memory.” Michelle reached into her case and removed a note. It was heavily creased from being read and crumpled up several times over the years, but Iris’s words were still clearly legible. ”You can keep that; I don’t need it anymore.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

“This can’t be real! Michelle, we need to talk!” Iris said.

”You didn’t even recognize me, your own daughter!” Michelle walked out of the courtroom, paid the fine, and left her mother behind once and for all.

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