He noticed a girl begging on the street and couldn’t get her image out of his head. He had to know what had happened to her.
Roger Landers, a wealthy businessman, was frequently irritated by the sight of the homeless begging on the street outside his office building. Each year, he observed, there appeared to be an increasing number of them.
A compassionate person slipped a penny in her cup as he passed a young woman crouched against a wall. Roger was struck in the heart by the woman’s grin as she glanced up and smiled at her benefactor. That hunched nameless nuisance transformed into a gorgeous glowing woman in a split second.
Roger entered the building, and the moment when the girl’s face was changed by her grin repeated in his thoughts over and again. He began to wonder who she was and what had compelled her to live on the merciless streets of Los Angeles.
Roger became nearly fascinated with the young homeless woman for the remainder of the week. He kept a tight eye on her, and once when he placed a penny in her cup, he witnessed the remarkable metamorphosis up close.
Love may appear in the most unlikely of places.
He found himself daydreaming about her, making up stories about her, tiny fantasies in which he learned she was a close-up reporter covering homelessness, or a dedicated actress preparing for a part…
When Roger went inside the building, the girl’s face lit up with excitement. Roger finally did what he’d been wanting to do all week on Friday afternoon, after wrapping up his job for the day and dismissing his staff. He approached the girl sitting on the sidewalk and struck up a conversation with her.
“Hello,” he said, a little hesitantly. “Is it all right if I buy you a cup of coffee? You have a really frigid appearance.” The girl grinned at him as she raised her face.
She smiled and replied, “Thank you.” “That’s something I’d want.” As she rose to her feet, Roger was captivated by her low educated voice and elegance. He recognized she was little, a diminutive 5′ 3″ compared to his towering 6′ 2″.
He led her to a neighboring coffee shop and placed an order for her hot food to accompany her coffee. Roger was once again taken aback by her gentle movements and demeanor. This was a well-educated young lady. What had caused her to end herself on the streets?
After she completed her hot soup, grilled sandwich, and coffee, Roger noticed color return to the girl’s face and asked her the question. “How did you end up in this situation? Are you a homeless person?”
The young lady gave him a direct stare. Her lips were curled in a sardonic grin. She said, “I was stupid and trusting.” “It’s hardly a unique story.” If you can believe it, I was in love with a boy from my hometown, Idaho.
“Because my parents disapproved of him, he became even more romantic and appealing to me… To shorten a long tale short, he persuaded me to take out my education savings and go to Los Angeles with him. I was going to be a screenwriter, and he was going to be a movie star…”
Roger regrettably shook his head. “Every year, a lot of people come out here, but only a few make it!” he said.
Roger let out a gasp. “Did you report it to the cops? Do you want to call your family?” With tears in her eyes, the girl shook her head.
“I was too embarrassed to say anything. I reached an agreement with the hotel management. She allowed me to sleep in the storeroom in exchange for cleaning the rooms. I was given some advice by some of the guests, and I was able to eat.
Her spouse, on the other hand, began to attempt…” With a shake of her head, the girl expressed her dissatisfaction with the situation. “You’re well aware of the situation. I walked out of the hotel and found myself on the streets.”
“Can you tell me your name?” Roger inquired softly.
“Emma,” the girl answered, a lovely smile on her face. “My name is Emma Sinclair, and I’m from Preston, Idaho!”
Roger grinned back and said, “Well, Emma Sinclair from Preston, Idaho.” “My name is Roger Landers, and I’m sending you home from Los Angeles, California.”
Roger brought Emma to a local mall and purchased several clothing as well as a luggage for her. While she changed and emerged from the toilet transformed, he waited in the food court.
He took her to the bus terminal and purchased a ticket for her return trip. In her hand, he inserted a $100 bill. He said, “Listen.” “Please don’t allow any more charming rascals persuade you to visit L.A., OK?”
Emma was sobbing and smiling at the same time. She reached up and hugged Roger. “Thank you, thank you, and God bless you!” says the narrator.
Roger felt his heart drop as he saw her board the bus. Why did he think this was a blunder? He wanted to chase down the bus and pleading with Emma to stay… What was going on with him?
Roger recognized that night that the little waif with the dazzling grin had snatched his heart. “I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I let her go!” he warned himself. “She’s unique, and I adore her.”
Roger was traveling into Preston, Idaho, two days later. He came to a halt at the police station and inquired about Emma Sinclair. “Emma?” one of the deputies inquired, curiously. “What are your intentions with Emma?”
Roger reddened a little. “You know, I met her in LA and wanted to make sure she was okay…”
The deputy examined him from every angle. “Emma may be found two doors down at her mother’s laundry. I’ll accompany you. I don’t want Emma to have any more problems!”
When Roger came into the laundry and spotted Emma, his heart was racing. Her face brightened up as she glanced up. Roger realized at that instant that she had been thinking the same thing: they belonged together!
So, just three weeks after returning home, Emma went to Los Angeles, this time with a guy who adored and appreciated her. Roger and Emma married at the end of the year, and Emma became active in a program to help runaways find their way home.