1-Sentence-Summary: An Invisible Thread will help you feel more motivated to be kind to others by sharing the heartwarming story of the incredible friendship between a boy afflicted with poverty and a successful businesswoman.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
There is a Chinese proverb that talks about an invisible thread that connects us with those that destiny says we will meet. Other cultures have called it a thread of fate, or strings of destiny.
Laura Schroff is a firm believer in this idea. She was a successful advertising executive who passed a young boy on the street one day. She was busy and had plenty of reasons not to stop when the 11-year-old African American Maurice asked her for spare change. But instead, she made a decision that would dramatically change both of their lives: she took him to lunch.
Something kept drawing her back to see the boy, and so she did, every week. She details her experiences and decades-long relationship with Maurice in An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny.
Here are 3 of my favorite lessons from this inspiring relationship:
- Maurice had a tragic beginning, and through her own past, Laura understood the importance of a lucky break.
- Lunches in brown paper bags were just one of the many ways that Laura took care of Maurice, but their relationship was at times difficult to balance.
- The impact that these two had on each other and the lessons they learned from their relationship will remain with them forever.
Get ready for a heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship! Let’s dive right in!
Lesson 1: Maurice endured a tough childhood, and Laura’s upbringing helped her understand the importance of a lucky break.
Maurice had tragically only known extreme poverty and had his life threatened at a young age. He didn’t see his father much because of his gang affiliation, so Maurice and his mother had to scavenge for food in trash cans. He and his siblings moved from apartment to apartment while their mother scraped together as much money as she could selling cocaine.
His mother had a drug addiction and would get high late into the night, leaving her three kids to fend for themselves on the streets. One time, Maurice watched as his mother stab his father multiple times in a fit of rage. Needless to say, he lived a very violent and unstable childhood.
Schroff, on the other hand, had not had quite as tough of a past. But her own obstacles taught her the importance of a lucky break. As an alcoholic, her father had violent outbursts often. Her mother mostly ignored the problem, and he directed most of his outbursts toward his two terrified kids.
She didn’t do well in school so set out to be a flight stewardess. She was devastated when she failed the exams needed to be a stewardess, but managed to get a job as a receptionist for Icelandic Airlines.
From there, she made the best of her situation and eventually was able to make contacts with a travel magazine that hired her. Through this picky break, she got the experience needed to achieve her dream job at USA Today, where she eventually became an advertising executive.
Lesson 2: Laura took care of Maurice with lunches in paper bags and by taking him to baseball games at first, but she had to have balance in the relationship.
After their first meeting, Maurice naturally thought that lunch was all he would get. But Laura couldn’t get him out of her mind and found him again. She wanted to learn his story and help him in any way she could. After this, they met once a week for lunch and established trust. Eventually, she invited him to her home for a meal, and then to baseball games.
Laura sent Maurice with a permission slip for his mother to sign allowing her to take him to the game. But when he didn’t arrive, she went to his home and saw the horrible living conditions. His mother was intoxicated, but his grandmother signed the slip, and off they went. For her safety, Maurice made her promise to never come back to his apartment.
Laura soon realized that Maurice often went hungry in the days between their meetings. She offered to leave lunch for him to pick up from her doorman. He only had one request: that his lunch came in a brown paper bag. He explained that when kids at school bring a lunch in a brown paper bag it means someone at home cares for them.
For those who have an average childhood, going to a baseball game and having a brown sack lunch are pretty standard things. But for Maurice, these meant the world, and gave him desperately needed normalcy.
Lesson 3: This friendship forever changed Laura and Maurice.
When talking about their unlikely friendship, Maurice likes to say “the Lord sent me an angel.” Laura also believes a higher power guided her to Maurice. Not long before they met, Laura’s mother said on her deathbed that she would still be looking over her when she was gone. Laura wonders if her mother pulled Maurice to her.
Laura says that helping Maurice taught her valuable lessons about resilience and courage in the face of adversity. Through her experience, she also learned the true value of money and how to be happy with whatever you have.
Laura’s help and guidance helped Maurice get out of a situation that has trapped and killed many young adults. With her encouragement, he went on to get his GED and go to college. He now owns his own construction company and is the proud father of five children. Laura’s help came at just the right time, and his story shows that it is possible to break the cycle of violence and neglect in some families. The two remain close friends to this day.
An Invisible Thread Review
An Invisible Thread is such a great story that has so many lessons to teach. It’s really got me thinking about how I can make a bigger difference by looking at the little things I can do for the people around me. If everyone was more like Laura Schroff, the world would be a much better place.
Who would I recommend the An Invisible Thread summary to?
The 51-year-old office worker who passes homeless and poor people on their way to work every day, the 33-year-old that likes hearing an inspiring story, and anyone who is curious about the benefits of caring about people more than work or things.