Sara Moore Gruver checked her bank account – she only had $20 to get her through the rest of the week. Her three children prayed that she might find a little more money for them to have ice cream. Then an envelope appeared.
Gruver served as the matriarch of her family, which she had built relatively quickly. She gave birth to three kids – two boys and one girl – in less than five years, having undergone fertility treatments for a couple of years to make motherhood possible.
But she wasn’t just a mom – Gruver pursued seemingly disparate interests in her career and personal life. She worked as a paramedic, but she had also studied philosophy, human resources and creative writing at Houghton College.
And although she described herself on Facebook as a “tired mom of three amazing kids and [a] paramedic,” Gruver found time to continue writing too. On August 28, 2017, she shared a personal story that would eventually go viral.
Gruver began her story by admitting to her Facebook friends that she had only $20. “Bills are paid and food is bought, but there just wasn’t much left over this week,” she wrote. Be that as it may, it hadn’t been a big deal until her children made a request.
And they put their plea to her in no uncertain terms. “On the way home from grocery shopping today, my kids begged for ice cream. Begged. Cried real tears. All the drama,” she wrote. Knowing her financial limitations for the seven days ahead, Gruver said no.
On top of that, the mom-of-three told her little ones they “[had] plenty of good food at home. We don’t need to stop at the ice cream store.” That didn’t prevent her sons and daughter from asking once again but, this time, they requested ice cream from a higher power.
Indeed, Gruver recalled that they beseeched the divine being. She said, “I heard little sighs from the back seat and then, ‘God, we’d really love some ice cream. Is there any way you can give Mommy some money so we can get some ice cream tonight? We know you can. Thank you.’”
At that point, their mom reminded them that, as she wrote, “[God] was busy […] with natural disasters.” Just three days before her Facebook post, Hurricane Harvey had hit Texas, and it had been the strongest storm to have hit the Lone Star State in more than half a century.
Moreover, Gruver wrote, “God isn’t going to drop money on our doorstep so you can get ice cream.” But her son, Josh, responded as if he had heard directly from a higher power after making his prayer from the backseat.
His mom recalled what had happened. She wrote, “‘Nope,’ Josh said. ‘God said you’ll have plenty of money for ice cream and to give some to the natural disaster people.’” Knowing that she only had $20 in her bank account, Gruver knew that that wasn’t going to happen.
“‘Josh, it doesn’t work that way,’” I started, and then gave up,” she wrote. But little did she know, her mind was about to change. When she and her kids got home, the day’s mail was waiting for them on their doorstep.
As Gruver leafed through the stack, she found an unexpected envelope. Even more surprising was what was to be found inside of it. As it turned out, the small paper parcel was an answer to the prayer her son had made in the car.
Next Gruver wrote, “In the envelope was a check for $123. From an overpayment on a student loan I paid off… in 2007.” The additional padding to her bank account meant that her kiddos would be able to enjoy the sweet treat that they were craving.
But her son’s premonition had also included extra cash left over to give to charity – and in due course that came true too. Gruver wrote, “They got ice cream. The Red Cross got a donation. The kids were not surprised.”
For Gruver, the unexpected windfall – and her children’s optimism – had taught her an important lesson. She wrote, “Mom remembered, yet again, what it means to have the faith of a child.” With that final line, she finished her post and at last shared the story via Facebook.
Gruver had no idea what would happen next – her post went viral. her story garnered 62,000 reactions and more than 34,000 shares. The mom of three was shocked by its mass appeal. “This post has gone viral!!! Craziness!” she wrote.
“I never expected this post to go past my private circle of friends, but I’m glad everyone is blessed. Keep the faith always,” she advised everyone who read her story. Inspired by Gruber’s experience, others shared similar stories from their own lives in the comments section of her original post.
Facebook user Lydia Kurin wrote about her childhood, when she and her siblings wished that they could have an at-home sundae bar. After they had described all the toppings that they had wanted – but their family hadn’t been able to afford – a family friend knocked on the door and hand-delivered ice cream and sundae toppings to them because she was thinking of the family.
Both this inspiring comment and Gruver’s initial post fulfilled the mom-of-three’s mission in sharing her story in the first place. “I wrote it simply to spread some faith and hope in a world that can be so dark some days, and I believe that’s what my words are doing,” she said.