A teenager who is passionate about photography and carries his camera everywhere is mocked by his friends until one day, his camera helps the entire neighborhood and changes their lives forever.
Billy Ferguson received a camera for his 16th birthday from his parents. It wasn’t the model Billy had hoped for, but more or less, it had the features he wanted.
Billy’s parents, Heather and Morris, worked on a small farm in the Texas countryside. Despite a lack of water supply, horrible heat, and absurdly low rates offered by vendors buying crops from them that year, they managed to save up for Billy’s camera.
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Billy was disappointed with his birthday gift because it wasn’t exactly what he had hoped for. However, he knew that his parents had worked hard for it, so in the end, he accepted the present with a smile.
Sadly, unlike Billy’s family, the situation for others in his neighborhood was so bad that everyone feared a lack of essentials and basic supplies if things went that way. It had already led to a huge increase in crime rates in the neighborhood, including theft in broad daylight, as several families had absolutely no earning hands but plenty of mouths to feed.
Billy and his parents were living in dire conditions. | Source: Unsplash
That was also one of the reasons why Billy appreciated his parents’ gift. Later, after spending his birthday with his parents and his grandmother, who lived with them, Billy went to show his friends the camera.
Unfortunately, their families were in worse financial shape than Billy’s, and one of his friends’ dads was serving a prison sentence for theft. They were all taken aback when Billy showed them the camera.
“Wow, dude! That’s insane,” Harry cried. “I wish my parents had given me something like that!”
Billy grinned. “Yeah, mom and dad saved for it for months. It’s really cool. I snapped some pictures on my way to see you guys, and they turned out brilliant!”
“Hey, Billy,” Robin said. “We’ve got something cool for you as well. Here,” he said and he gave Billy a box. When Billy opened it, he discovered a Manchester United jersey inside.
“Wow, thanks, guys. I love it,” he said, beaming with happiness. “But this must be expensive. You guys didn’t need get me something.”
Billy’s friends gifted him a sports jersey. | Source: Unsplash
Suddenly, there was a slight pause during which Billy spotted his friends gazing at each other as if they were keeping something from him. He knew his friends had engaged in petty thefts, so he was skeptical if they had bought the jersey or stolen it.
“Guys,” he said. “Be honest. How did you get this for me?”
Robin laughed suspiciously. “Oh, come on, Billy! We know that’s your favorite football team! So…we saved up for the jersey! You’ve never failed to give us gifts, so we had to do this much!”
Billy didn’t believe his friends for some reason. However, he didn’t ask them anything further as he thought they’d feel bad. He accepted the jersey and went back home.
But sadly, a few days later, his suspicions about the jersey proved correct when he was on his way home from school. Outside the school, he noticed his friends huddled and talking about something. When he approached, they all fell silent.
“What’s the deal, guys?” he asked. “Are you discussing something I’m not supposed to know about?”
Robin feigned a laugh. “Of course not, Billy. But… It’s just that, will you help us if we tell you what we’re planning?”
Billy noticed his friends were discussing something. | Source: Pexels
“Sure,” Billy replied. But when he found out they intended to rob a store the next night, he firmly refused them.
“Are you guys out of your mind?” He stared at them, wide-eyed. “I am not doing something so dumb!”
“Hey, man,” Robin said. “There would be lots of money. We can party with that. Last time, we robbed a store too, and well, that’s how we got the jersey for you, Billy!”
“What?” Billy was taken aback. “Did you…but you said you saved for it!”
“Okay, we lied, okay, but man, come on! Don’t be a snob. Help us, and we’ll be able to party together!”
‘NO WAY!’ Billy stated. “I’m not going to do that! And I’m returning that jersey too. I don’t want something bought with stolen money! Anyway, I’ll be attending a photo exhibition in the city tomorrow. I love photography and have decided to open my own gallery after graduation. SO I AM NOT IN!”
Billy was passionate about photography. | Source: Unsplash
Robin burst out laughing. “What? What are you going to do with your stupid camera? Become a photographer?”
“Come on, Billy,” Harry coaxed. “At this point, you’re just showing off! You’re simply pretending to be hip with that stupid camera of yours. We can buy it too, as well as many other things… We know how to make money quickly!”
“They’re right, Billy,” Kevin chimed in. “Help us! Stop acting like a coward! Your obsession with photography is stupid… You can’t make money with that! Do you really think that walking around with your camera will make you rich? Nonsense! You and your camera look like that idiotic Dora the Explorer,” he added, and everyone laughed.
“If you don’t help us, forget that we were ever friends, Billy! It’s a warning!” Robin said.
Billy was hurt when his friends mocked him, but he refused to help them. The next day, he went to the exhibition and had a fun time there. He took some amazing shots with his camera and had the pictures produced at a nearby studio.
Billy took some really amazing shots with his camera. | Source: Unsplash
Billy also submitted some of his favorites to the photo gallery hosting a competition with a $300,000 cash prize for the winner.
A week later, on a weekend, Billy organized a show in his neighborhood, where he presented some of his photographs. He was able to obtain a projector via which he shared a presentation showing people how he traveled to the city and then visited the gallery.
People admired his photos and complimented him. However, as soon as they saw the final slide of the presentation, their smiles suddenly faded, and all stared at Billy with wide eyes, unable to believe what they were witnessing on the screen.
The final slide included a snapshot of the correspondence Billy had received from the gallery’s owners, indicating his photograph had won first prize, a staggering $300,000!
However, instead of keeping the money for himself, Billy decided to use it to restore and improve his neighborhood so that people might have better facilities, farmers could have help with their crops, and his friends’ families who had lost jobs could get some financial assistance to restart their lives. He had developed a small plan to do so, and he showed it on the last slide.
Billy helped the people in his neighborhood, including the farmers. | Source: Unsplash
Billy’s friends who were watching his presentation were embarrassed at this point. They were always concerned with themselves and sought money in the wrong places. Moreover, they berated Billy’s passion for photography! Billy, on the other hand, considered and helped everyone.
In the end, Billy’s friends apologized to him and said that they wanted to re-establish their friendship with him. But first, Billy demanded that they be truthful and return all of the money they’d stolen. They agreed to work part-time for it and promised never to do wrong again.
What can we learn from this story?
- Being self-sufficient is great, but assisting people around you is much better. Billy had the option of keeping the prize money to himself, but he chose not to. Instead, he used it to help his entire neighborhood.
- Doing good always results in good. Billy’s good deed of assisting his neighborhood made his friends understand that one can help others by doing right and good. They changed for the better, thanks to Billy.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who risked her 4-year-old daughter’s life to make videos on social media.
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