The True Story of an 11-year-old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny Maurice Mazyek was the boy and Laura Schroff was the woman. On a busy New York street he asked her if she had any spare change, but she paid no attention. But then, she turned back and saw how young he was. He said he was hungry, and she bought him lunch at McDonald’s. They continued to meet every Monday for lunch, and the relationship changed both their lives.

She knew he was poor, but had no idea he lived in a den of drug dealers and addicts and that most of his family members were not helpful. He was too ashamed to tell her. She met his teacher at school and was told Maurice was smart and a good worker, but often arrived late. He explained he never knew the time, so Laura purchased a $5 alarm clock for him. Over time, she bought him a toothbrush, soap, new clothes, and snacks and fruit to have at his apartment.

He visited her some Saturdays, and she taught him to do his laundry and to cook simple dishes with food she had bought. Not surprisingly, he loved baking cookies.

Laura was single and took great pleasure in doing things with Maurice. Since she was in advertising and sales, she sometimes had tickets to sports events, so she took Maurice along. Later she took him to her sister’s home in the suburbs, where Maurice had wonderful experiences playing with Laura’s nephews and nieces, riding bikes and being outdoors. He learned how families should live.

To be sure, their relationship had its ups and downs, but the two are friends for life. Today Maurice has graduated from college, has a successful career, a loving wife, and great kids. This inspiring story might change our lives, too.