A widowed man traveled from separate ends of the United States to bring home his newborn baby, but he was refused entry into the airplane.
Michael Peterson was busy repainting his home in San Francisco when he received a call from a New York hospital that a baby girl had just been born, and he was listed as the father.
At first, Michael thought it was a prank until he remembered his pregnant wife was in New York for a quick vacation. He had organized the trip himself, as his wife was not due for another two months, and he wanted to renovate their home before the baby arrived.
Michael and his wife Annabel had been trying to conceive for years. When they couldn’t they adopted three children whom they love dearly. The three kids, Bob, Mellie, and Amy, stayed in San Francisco to help Michael renovate their home.
Between Michael and Annabel, it was Michael who was keen on adopting, as he was a foster child himself. He grew up promising himself that he would take in as many kids as he could, hoping to give them a loving and healthy environment to grow up in.
Aside from their three children, Michael was a dad of two teenagers whom he had with his ex-wife Emma. They went their separate ways a decade ago when he caught Emma sleeping with another man.
After their divorce, he met Annabel. They kicked it off right away, dating for a couple of months before deciding to get married. Although they wanted kids, they had difficulty conceiving, which is why they decided to adopt.
One day, however, they were surprised to see one of the pregnancy tests Annabel took turned out positive. The couple was delighted, and it was at that moment that Michael decided to renovate their home to include a nursery and another room so that their three growing children didn’t have to share just one room.
In order to make renovations without bothering his pregnant wife, Michael planned a surprise trip to New York for her to enjoy. She had always wanted to visit the place, and he was glad her best friend was there to take her around.
Just a couple of days into her vacation, she suddenly went into labor. Her best friend, Mariska, tried reaching Michael, but he was too busy with the repairs that he didn’t have his phone with him. It was only when the hospital dialed the landline that he was able to answer.
Michael was devastated. While giving birth to their daughter, his darling wife Annabel died. He left his three children with their grandmother and took the next flight out to New York to be with their newborn and to see his wife one last time.
When his plane landed, he took a cab to the hospital where his wife and child were at. He was in tears, trying to hide it by wearing a pair of sunglasses.
The hospital was a 15-minute drive, and when he arrived at the neonatal intensive care unit, he was greeted by an 82-year-old woman who introduced herself as Mrs. Chen.
“What happened to my wife? Where is she? Where’s her best friend Mariska?” he asked all at once, trying to find answers to the questions in his head.
“Please, have a seat,” Mrs. Chen said calmly. Michael shook his head and remained standing.
“I am so sorry for your loss. Your wife suffered complications while giving birth to your child, and she didn’t make it,” she explained.
Michael couldn’t help but sob. He had so many plans for their young family, and it broke his heart that Annabel wouldn’t be there with him.
Mrs. Chen then led Michael to the nursery where their daughter was being kept. “Before your wife died, she named your daughter Jamie,” she said quietly, before leaving the father to be with his daughter.
Michael was still in tears as he carried his newborn. He promised to take care of her and to tell her all the wonderful stories about her brave mom.
Everything went smoothly, and Michael was able to contact Mariska, who was at work when Annabel went into labor. It was an ambulance that had brought her to the hospital from her hotel.
On the day of his departure to go back to San Francisco, Mrs. Chen offered to give them a ride to the airport. “If you ever need anything, here’s my number,” she said, handing a crumpled piece of paper with her number written on it.
Michael thanked her for her kindness and proceeded to the security check area before the boarding gates. When they were about to board the plane, he was stopped by the ground personnel.
“Excuse me, sir, is this your child?” the ground staff asked. He nodded his head.
“Do you have her birth certificate, sir? She seems too young to be on an airplane,” she said politely.
“She’s only four days old,” Michael said, handing the birth certificate to the woman.
“I’m sorry sir, but a child must be at least a week old before traveling on an airplane. It’s part of the policy,” she explained, but Michael’s patience was running thin.
“I don’t have any family here, I need to take her home. My three children are waiting in San Francisco,” he said, irritated.
Not wanting to stay at the airport, he decided to give Mrs. Chen a call. He knew Mariska’s job required her to work odd hours, so he did not want to bother her.
When Mrs. Chen answered the call, he happily took a u-turn back to the airport, where she picked Michael and Jamie up.
“You two can stay in my house for three days until she’s a week old. Then you can board that plane,” she said, driving up to her small apartment in Brooklyn.
Michael was surprised at the old lady’s kindness, realizing that if she was in his place, he would likely not have helped her at all.
Michael and Jamie stayed in Mrs. Chen’s house for a couple more days before he returned home to San Francisco. Not only did the kind woman welcome them into her home, but she also helped take care of Jamie while Michael was still adjusting to life with a newborn as well as coping with his wife’s death.
In those short days, Michael saw Mrs. Chen as a mother figure. Jamie had also warmed up to her, comfortably sleeping in her arms whenever she offered to help out.
Thankfully, in those days, he was able to secure permits to take Annabel’s ashes home to San Francisco as well. It was there that he gave her the funeral she deserved, surrounded by all those who loved and treasured her.
Even when they went back home to San Francisco, Michael continued to keep in touch with Mrs. Chen, and the crumpled paper she once gave him with her cellphone number remained plastered on their fridge.
When Jamie was a toddler, Michael would travel to New York with her and her older siblings to visit Mrs. Chen. This happened for a couple of years until they found out about her death.
During her funeral, a lawyer revealed that she actually left him a part of her inheritance, as she did for the rest of her four children. There, she was greeted kindly by Mrs. Chen’s kids, who were all polite and gracious.
Instead of using the money for himself and his kids, he decided to put up a charity for senior citizens alongside Mrs. Chen’s children. He worked closely with Mrs. Chen’s eldest daughter, Pamela, who was a widower herself.
In the end, Pamela and Michael fell in love, and they ended up getting married. Pamela happily took on the role of being a stepmom to Michael’s six children, as she never had children of her own.