Pedro works as a waiter in a big hotel. He starts work at 6:00am because the hotel serves breakfast from 6:30am to 9:00am. One night Pedro takes his laundry to the laundromat. He washes and dries his clothes. He carries the basket of clean clothes back to his small apartment. He is very tired.
I won’t put my clothes away tonight, he thinks. I will do it tomorrow.
He puts his smartphone to on charge and goes to bed.
During the night there is a big storm. The wind damages the power lines. Pedro doesn’t hear anything. He is sleeping. In the morning he wakes up. The room is very dark.
What time is it? he thinks.
He looks for his clock alarm but he can’t see it. The display has disappeared.
Oh, there is no electricity! What time is it? My alarm didn’t go off. I might be late!
He jumps out of bed and finds his way to his table. He can’t see in the dark so he uses his hands to find his phone.
I can get the time from my phone, he thinks. But his phone has no charge. Oh no! There has been no electricity for hours. I must go to work! I must hurry!
Pedro falls over the basket in the corner of his room. He finds socks and underwear and his waiter’s uniform. There is no hot water so he can’t have a shower. But there is some charge in his shaver so he can shave and wash in cold water. He still doesn’t know what the time is so he hurries to get dressed. He puts his wallet and keys in his pocket and runs to the bus stop. At the bus stop he speaks to another man waiting for the bus.
“Excuse me, Sir. What time is it?”
The man looks at his smartphone. “It’s 5:30am,” he says.
“Thank you,” says Pedro.
I’m lucky, he thinks. I have enough time to get to work. I will not be late.
When Pedro is sitting on the bus he remembers he didn’t shine his shoes. He looks down at his feet. His shoes are OK but Pedro sees his socks!
I am wearing one black sock and one red sock! I couldn’t see in the dark. Everyone will think I am crazy. Or maybe no one will notice.
At first there are no lights in any of the buildings or apartment blocks, but as the bus gets closer to the hotel everything looks normal.
It is only in my area that there is no electricity, thinks Pedro. I hope they have fixed the problem before I go home. I didn’t even have a cup of coffee this morning.
Pedro gets off the bus near the hotel. He waits to cross the busy road. There is an older woman standing next to him. She is very smartly dressed. She looks at him and smiles.
I wonder why she is out so early? She doesn’t look like a worker, thinks Pedro. I think she smiled because she saw my socks!
Suddenly the woman falls down. Pedro tries to help her. She seems very ill. She cannot speak. He calls out.
“Please someone, call an ambulance! She is ill!”
Many people come to help, but Pedro stays next to her. He is worried someone might take the woman’s bag. He picks it up and holds it. He waits until the ambulance comes. He gives her bag to the ambulance driver.
“This belongs to her. Please make sure it is safe and she gets it when she wakes up,” he says.
Then he hurries to work.
The other waiters see Pedro’s sock. They laugh at him. They make many jokes. Pedro feels bad, but he can’t say anything because it is true. He is wearing one black sock and one red sock. The restaurant manager is angry. “You look very strange. Don’t make such a mistake again.”
Two weeks later Pedro is busy serving customers. The restaurant manager comes up to him. “Come with me now.”
Pedro is worried. Am I going to lose my job?
The manager takes Pedro to the guest lounge. “You have a visitor,” he says. There is a woman sitting in the guest lounge. It is the woman who fell down in the street.
“This is Mrs Van Velden,” says the manager. “Her son owns this hotel. She wants to talk you.” The manager goes away.
“Please sit down,” says Mrs Van Velden.
Pedro sits down. Mrs Van Velden smiles at him.
“Two weeks ago, there was a bad storm,” she says. “I couldn’t sleep. And then there was no electricity in my part of town. I was cold and hungry. So I decided to come here to my son’s hotel to have breakfast. But you know I felt very ill and fell down in the street. You were very kind to me. You looked after my bag. You are a very kind young man.”
“No! No!” says Pedro. “I didn’t do anything special. You don’t need to thank me.”
“I want to thank you,” says Mrs Van Veden. “I want to give you a little present.”
She takes an envelope out of her bag and gives it to Pedro. Pedro doesn’t want to take it, but Mrs Van Velden says, “Take it! Open it.”
Pedro takes the envelope and opens it. There is a lot of money inside.
Oh, I can send this to my mother, thinks Pedro.
Thank you very much!” he says. “But how did you find me?”
Mrs Van Velden laughs. “That was very easy. I saw your uniform so I knew you worked in this hotel. So I just asked who was wearing one red sock and one black sock that day!”