When Sean Whalen was a young kid, he saw firsthand the bitterness of divorce.
After his parents got into a fight, his mom took Sean and his brother to a hotel for the night. When they got back home the next day, their dad had changed the locks.
A police escort allowed them 10 minutes to grab the necessities. No toys, games, or even pets – only the bare minimum.
They had nothing.
In that horrible situation, though, Sean watched his mom.
He watched how hard she worked to support their little family.
He watched as she never gave up, no matter how hard things got or how exhausted she was.
He watched her get on her knees each night and beg God for the strength to do it all again.
He watched, and he never forgot.
Now Sean is grown and is a single parent himself. After losing everything in the recession, he had to put everything on the line to get his life back.
Now he understands what his mother went through for so many difficult years.
Recently, Sean took his son out to eat at one of their favorite restaurants. As they sat at their table, they struck up a conversation with their waitress, who they soon learned was a single mother.
As they talked, Sean couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something familiar about this woman.
Then it hit him – she reminded him of his mother.
Moved to help her, Sean left a $100 tip on his $26 bill. Not enough to change her life forever, he said, but something to brighten her night and give her strength to keep going.
Later on, Sean sat down and wrote out some of his thoughts about the special encounter and his own past, and his poignant words have gone on to inspire thousands: