At Cedar Point in Ohio, where Jacob worked as a ride operator, a young child with her grandmother frequently came to enjoy the carousel. He purchased her tickets every day after learning about their financial difficulties. A big surprise was prepared for him when the young girl searched for him sixteen years later.

Natalie combed through them in search of something she recalled keeping in one of her old boxes. She was in the attic of her home, where a single, inconspicuous light fixture on the roof cast daylight. The air in the room was filled with dust, which occasionally tickled her nostrils and caused her to sneeze. But she was steadfast in her pursuit.

She removed documents, outdated technology, used books, and many other items from those crates. A musty odor filled the space; some objects had aged and turned yellowish. Natalie wanted to leave the unpleasant situation as soon as possible but wouldn’t leave until she had located what she needed.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash


At long last, she discovered it at the base of one of the final crates in the attic. It was a vintage Polaroid, which she prayed was still in good shape. Fortunately, despite the poor storage, the picture was still intact. While gazing at it, Natalie grinned. On the reverse, it said, “Cedar Point, Summer 2006.”

“Why did you do that? It’s too much money, she said, putting her fingertips to her chin in protest.

Even though she had not thought about the memories in a while, they began to flood her consciousness like a beautiful movie she could never forget.

She spent her childhood going to Cedar Point, an amusement area in Ohio.

She remembered, as a ten-year-old, the metallic sound of the rides, the sweet scent of cotton candy in the air, and the yells of the excited kids running around. Everything about that time was perfect, and she mostly felt grateful. Her grandmother had saved a little bit of money here and there to take her there every day of that summer. But someone else had discovered her story and changed everything.

“Grandma! When they first arrived at the park, Natalie, ten, yelled at her grandma, “Look!” The little girl’s eyes widened in joy as she saw children flying about, eating caramel popcorn, and blowing bubbles. She knew they didn’t have enough money but still wished to do everything.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

To get to their real destination, the carousel. She was pulling on her grandmother’s hand. Natalie was fixated for some reason. She adored horses, and taking that ride had long been a fantasy come true for her. Natalie was shocked to see them there, even though her grandmother Gina had vowed they would go that summer.

Natalie frequently heard the screaming of those riding the roller coaster, observed the worn-out children with their parents as they left, and occasionally gazed wistfully out her window at the lights at night because they were always near the park. She yearned for all those rides, but she was once enthralled by a photograph of a vintage carousel in a park with stunning white horses decked out in plastic flowers in a magazine.

When they finally arrived at the ride, Natalie felt like crying because of the intensity she was feeling. It resembled something from a movie, just as she had imagined. Can you believe it, Grandma? she asked, turning to the elderly woman and tightening her hold.

Her grandma gave her a warm smile and knelt. “Yes, I can. Go on then; I’ll give the ticket to the ride operator.”

After letting go, Natalie hurried to the ride, pausing to select her horse. To the ten-year-old, choosing one of them felt like a once-in-a-lifetime choice because they were all so attractive but came in various colors and had various expressions on their plastic faces.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Naty, hurry up! Her grandmother chuckled at her granddaughter’s uncertainty and yelled, “The ride will start! “

Finally, Natalie decided on the horse with the pink mane and the blue saddle. She would never forget that particular instance or the expression on her grandmother’s face as she waved at the ride every time it went by.

The most wonderful time of her life had just passed. a moment of this nature that you will always recall, and that stops time. Natalie briefly lost sight of her family’s hardships. She was merely one of the young people who could freely cavort around in this upscale setting.

Sadly, the carousel ride abruptly stopped, and when she got off the horse, she was left with a bittersweet impression of the entire event.

Her grandma took her hand as she waited.

How were things, Naty? The elder lady enquired.

The little girl replied, looking up at her grandmother, who sighed deeply, “It was great, but I wish I could go again.”

“I’m sorry, sweetie. That’s all we can afford right now. But I promise we can come here every day until the end of summer and get you one ride. That way, you can treasure the experience for longer. How does that sound?” Natalie accepted her grandmother’s offer with a big grin.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

“Really? She continued to clutch her grandmother’s hand as she jumped around and exclaimed, “Yay!”

Gina was very good about keeping her word. They came each day, and it somehow never got boring. Natalie only used the carousel, but over time she even discovered the identity of the ride’s operator, Jacob Salas, who consistently wore a red hat with his park uniform. He looked like he belonged at an older age, even though he had to be in his 20s.

When her grandmother was using the restroom one day, Mr. Salas addressed her.

“Why don’t you ride again while you wait for your grandmother?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, sir. We only have enough money for one ticket a day. My father died years ago, and my grandmother doesn’t work anymore, so my mother is the only person earning money for us. It’s not enough to spend on rides,” Natalie told the operator, who nodded in understanding.

However, she noticed a glint in his eyes as he leaned into peer into hers. The following? I’ll purchase you rides on this for as long as you like. What does that look like? He smiled at the girl, who opened her eyes wide in surprise.


He agreed and exclaimed, “Really! Get back on the ride!”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

When Gina returned and questioned Mr. Salas about this, Natalie spun in the carousel.

“Don’t worry about it, ma’am. She can ride for as long as she wants today and from here on out. It’s on me.”

“Why would you do that? It’s too much money,” the older woman asked, holding her fingers to her chin in concern.

Jacob shook his head. “It’s not. I don’t have that many expenses, and besides… no one in this park is having as much fun as that girl.”

“No!” Jacob exclaimed after a few minutes. “No! Young lady, I can’t take this. It’s too much!”

That summer, Natalie could experience the carousel as frequently as she could because the ride operator kept his word. Gina occasionally purchased caramel popcorn or sodas using the money she saved from ticket sales. They always shared them with him to give back to Jacob for his thoughtfulness. At one point, a polaroid photo of the two of them was taken, with Natalie sporting Jacob’s red cap and beaming brightly into the lens.

Natalie’s sweetest childhood recollection was of this. She grew weary of the park and the carousel by the end of the summer. One day, after saying her goodbyes and thanking him, she didn’t see Jacob again.


For some reason, Natalie daydreamed about that summer and searched for that polaroid. Years ago, when she departed for college, she was aware that she had taken it with her, but somehow it had gotten lost in the chaos of life.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

And for her, things had taken a completely different course. Natalie had received a scholarship to attend a university in Philadelphia, where she met Anthony, whose family was obscenely rich. Being free of financial or other concerns was intimidating. Her husband had even purchased a home for them in Ohio to ensure that her grandma and mother would never have to pay rent again.

It was astounding. Her entire life had been spent working hard, but she had also been surrounded by wonderful, giving people who were always ready to lend a hand. Natalie believed she adequately compensated them with her enduring friendship, affection, and loyalty. She had made compensation for most people but not for Mr. Salas.

“Grandma, do you remember Mr. Salas?”

She asked Gina where she got the picture of the three at the park.

“Oh, you mean that young man who let you ride that carousel? I haven’t thought of him in a long time,” the older woman replied. “I can ask around if you want.”

“Please! I want to know if there’s any way I can pay him back for his generosity to us back then,” Natalie continued.

“Oh, darling. I’m so proud of the woman you’ve become. It’s amazing!” Gina gushed, emotion thick in her voice.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

“It’s all because of you and Mom. I hope you know that, Grandma,” the younger woman replied, a smile coloring her tone.

“I’ll look for Mr. Salas. Can you send me a copy of that polaroid? I can use it in my search,” the older woman suggested.

“That’s a great idea!” Natalie said and took a picture of the polaroid with her phone.

A couple of days later, Gina contacted her and informed her that Jacob continued to reside in Ohio. Someone had even provided her with his address and phone number.

Natalie called him as soon as she could, and they spoke for almost an hour, during which she inquired about his life and what he was doing at the time.

Since I used to frequent that area, a lot has changed. Jacob sadly said, “I almost wish I could go back there sometimes,” and then he told her what had transpired since their last meeting.

Later that year, Jacob revealed he was wed, and he and his wife had four kids before their mother chose to leave them. To support them, he was working two jobs.

His two adolescent children occasionally visited Cedar Point by working after-school jobs.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

“Mr. Salas, when I was a little girl, you gave me the thing I wanted the most: to ride that carousel to my heart’s desire, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I still value what you did,” Natalie started, tears gathering in her eyes. “If you could have anything right now, what would it be?”

“Oh wow. I want so many things for my kids, honestly. But as an amusement park lover, I would take them to Magic Kingdom. But just the trip alone is so expensive, and the park tickets are something else. However, I’m saving for it, so it’ll happen one day, even if my kids are adults by that time,” Mr. Salas revealed honestly.

He had a positive perspective on life despite his financial difficulties.

Like Grandma, he is. Natalie observed that she always acted upbeat and tried to minimize our struggles.

After a short while more of conversation, they formally departed.

Natalie was excited about the prospect of doing what she knew she had to. She asked her grandmother to work with Mr. Salas’s eldest son to arrange all the personal details required to buy tickets. After a week had passed, Natalie gave Mr. Salas another call.

“Check your email, sir,” she told him, excitement making her palms sweat.

“No!” Jacob exclaimed after a few minutes. “No! Young lady, I can’t take this. It’s too much!”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

“It’s not enough compared to what that summer meant to me. You bought tickets for me once; this is how I’m repaying you. Enjoy it. Do it for your kids because the memories of those carefree rides last a lifetime, and believe me, there’s nothing like it,” Natalie insisted, and she heard Mr. Salas crying in the background.

After hearing cheers, she realized he had informed his kids, who all eventually came to the phone. “Thanks a lot! Thank you! they shouted.

Natalie had purchased round-trip airfare for everyone, complete with hotel accommodations at a Disney Resort and admission passes for Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, and Animal Kingdom. She heard them clapping on the phone and was incredibly proud of herself.

Yes, her spouse was wealthy, but she paid for everything with her own money and in the process, she brought happiness to an entire family. This lovely moment in time resulted from her endeavors and good fortune.

“Make sure to take pictures and send them to me,” Natalie commanded jokingly.

“Young lady, you are… I have no words. I will send many pictures. Thank you!” Mr. Salas stated gratefully, and they hung up.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Natalie put the phone on the coffee table in her living room and stared intently inside herself. Years back, she was in error. It wasn’t her favorite experience in life to ride the wheel. What was?

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