Hard Day’s Night
Walter Carr was just trying to make sure he made it to his first day at his new job, but when the CEO of the company heard about his dedication, Carr would be greeted with an unfathomable surprise. Carr was excited to begin his new job, working as a mover for the startup Bellhop. But the night before he was slated to begin, he would be struck with a setback that could have cost him everything. How he handled it changed his life.
Over Before It Began
The day before Walter was set to begin his new job, one that offered much better pay than the work he’d done previously in a fast food restaurant, he was fueled by the anticipation of a new beginning. The stakes were even higher than simply needing some pocket money. Carr had just paid his rent, leaving his savings at zero. With the ability to make his own schedule, the gig with Bellhop seemed like a great opportunity, but Carr would soon discover a roadblock.
As he headed out to run some errands the afternoon before his first shift, he realized he couldn’t get his car to start. He had no money to bring it to the shop at the time, as he was counting on getting his first paycheck before having to shell out for repairs, nor did he necessarily have time. Before he panicked, he figured he could just get a ride to work early the next morning with a friend, so he pulled out his phone and started dialing.
Searching Every Angle
Each time Walter heard the phone ring, he felt like his heart skipped a beat until he heard his friend answer on the other side. It was a rare day that a 20-year-old would call rather than text his friends, but desperate times call for desperate measures. With each successive person Walter spoke to, his spirits sank a little more, as each of them explained that they would be unavailable to give him a lift the next morning.
Hatching A Plan
One of the things that worried Carr the most as he considered what to do without the option of driving was the lack of public transportation that connected Birmingham to the communities in its outskirts. Carr’s job wasn’t simply on the other side of the city, it was far beyond the metro area’s limits. It was going to take some creativity on Walter’s part to get himself to work, but money was going to be a limiting factor.
One Way Out
With only about 12 hours to go until he had to be at work, Walter decided he’d have to take the only option he had left. He’d walk. Carr didn’t think it would be beyond his fitness level. After all, in high school, he’d been a long distance runner, and the young college student was determined to join the Marines once he’d received his Associate’s degree. It was just going to be a matter of how far the walk really was that would give him pause.
Mapping The Route
Walter pulled out his phone once more and decided to look up how far the moving job was. He typed in Pelham, Alabama. From his apartment in Homewood, that was nearly 20 miles away. According to the route the computer gave him, the walk would take him roughly eight hours. Upon seeing that figure, however, Walter’s determination was set. He was not only going to walk, but he was going to do it faster than what Google suggested.
The Necessary Steps
If Walter was going to make it by 8 am, he figured he was going to need to leave around midnight. That gave him a few moments to scarf down some food and then take a nap in order to build up his energy. With precious little time to waste, the determined teen whipped up some eggs and ate them accompanied by bologna before immediately heading to bed. It seemed far too soon when his alarm rang at midnight.
Supplies In Hand
It was lucky that the most important tools Walter needed for his new job were his strength and positive attitude. Not wanting to be weighed down on his walk, he grabbed his phone and wallet, then just to be safe from stray dogs, a baseball and a kitchen knife. Before going to sleep he’d figured out the best roads to take, but even so, Walter would need plenty of mental fortitude to see himself through to the other side.
Long And Lonely Road
With eight hours stretching ahead of him, feeling longer than the route he would travel himself, Walter found plenty of time to let his thoughts wander, even while staying on high alert in case of danger. One after another, his footsteps fell, marking time on an endless journey. Here and there, Walter decided to pick up the pace, sprinting for a mile or so before slowing down once more. In the darkness, however, he saw a pair of eyes flicker up ahead.
Dog In The Night
Walter slowed his pace, clenching the baseball in his fist. As the eyes approached him, Walter found his suspicions confirmed, as the figure of a stray dog came into view. He wound up for the pitch, hoping that the diversion would be successful. The ball left his palm, launching into the air past the dog, whose attention was immediately grabbed by the flying object. Flying into the dark beyond the road, the dog took off, clearing the way for Walter to continue.
The hours marched on, but Walter stayed focused on his goal. He continued to go over the mental map he had made of his route, which helped to keep up his strength, even when he felt his legs beginning to burn. It was nearly 4 am, and Walter thought he was making good time. He quickly calculated that he could afford to rest for a few minutes, just to replenish his strength before moving on. With that, he sat down to rest.
Stumbling Upon Luck
Though he only had a few minutes of respite, Walter wanted to make the most of it. Instead, it seemed like mere seconds before a pair of headlights came blazing into the lot behind him. It was the police. Walter hoped they didn’t notice him sitting on the curb, but when the car pulled up right in front of him, he could only pray that they had sympathy for what he was trying to accomplish. Even so, as the window rolled down, Walter’s heart rate accelerated.
Hitching His Wagon
The officer behind the wheel, Mark Knighton, leaned out of his window to ask the young man sitting in the parking lot if he was ok. “This is crazy but I’m actually heading to work. It’s my first day in the job,” Walter explained, waiting to see if the officer believed him. He was still hours away from his destination, and just hoped he wouldn’t be held up for very long. Officer Knighton had a different idea in mind.
Officer Knighton was worried about the worn out young man sitting on the curb in front of him. It was roughly 4 am, but he was impressed by Walter’s determination to get to his new job. Knighton asked him when he’d last had a meal, figuring he must be not only tired, but also hungry. After hearing that it had been hours since his last meal, Knighton suggested getting Carr some food, but Walter had no cash on him at all.
The officers insisted that Walter get in the car. He was reluctant, but they seemed to be well-meaning. They explained that they were bringing him to get a meal, despite Walter being short on cash. Carr couldn’t have been more grateful for the help. The officers decided that they were not only going to make sure that Walter was fed with a warm meal, but they wanted to help get him closer to his destination, even if they couldn’t bring him the entire way.
Relay Racing The Clock
With two chicken biscuits from Whataburger filling his belly, the two officers shaved a significant amount of time off of Walter’s journey when they dropped him several miles closer to his destination. Knighton and his colleague explained to Walter that they had radioed in for another police escort from the local municipality to come pick him up from a nearby church, as their shifts were soon ending. Walter exited their vehicle, full of gratitude, but his anxiety was still running high.
Waiting On An Edge
The minutes ticked by, but Walter still found himself waiting for his new escort in front of the church. He checked his watch and noticed how much later it had gotten. If he didn’t start walking again soon, Walter worried that all of his efforts would have been in vain, because there was no way he’d make it on time for his shift. Wearily, he brought himself to his feet, and hit the road once more.
A Winding Lane
As Walter set out for the second part of his journey, the road he was now hurrying to traverse was a stark contrast to the busy thoroughfares he had taken before. It was already 5:30 am, and the grey summer dawn was now illuminating his way. His ears pricked at the sound of a car coming up behind him, but as he stepped out of its way, the car slowed. Walter’s body tensed in anticipation of danger, but he looked back to find a second police car.
Jumping The Gun
As the car pulled level with Walter, he saw that the officers had already rolled down their window to question him. It turned out that the officers in this second vehicle had been tipped off by Walter’s previous escort and were happy to find him making his way down the road. At their insistence, Walter got into the car, thankful that he would not only arrive to work, but now he would be early, and could preserve some energy for the work itself.
Sounding The Bell
It was only 6:30 am when Walter arrived at the house he was supposed to help move. His second escort walked him to the door, waiting for the owner to greet them. They explained to Jenny Lamey that the young man they were bringing over at such an early hour was part of the team of movers she’d hired and that he had been walking all night in order to get there. Jenny was stunned by his dedication.
“The officer told me, ‘I’ve got this nice kid in my car. He’s a great kid, he’s been walking all night to get to your house,’” Lamey recalled to the Washington Post. “That’s when the tears started coming. I just started crying.” Though Lamey offered Walter a place to rest until the rest of his team arrived for the job, given the amount of energy he’d already expended, he declined her offer, insisting that he’d rather just start working early.
Above And Beyond
It wouldn’t be long before the rest of Walter’s team arrived, and though the young men had never met before, they began working like a well-oiled machine, deftly packing up the Lameys’ old home before transporting and unloading it in a new location. Lamey was particularly impressed by Walter’s tireless efforts, as he refused to rest until the work was complete. When the bulk of the move had taken place, he even went so far as to play basketball with Lamey’s children.
Fueled By More Than Fire
Reflecting back on Walter’s work in an interview with Washington Post, Lamey said, “I can’t imagine what kept him going. What came over him physically was supernatural. I think God helped him through.” Despite the physical demands of the job, Walter didn’t falter for even a moment. If they hadn’t already known that he’d walked throughout the night, they’d never have guessed he’d already exerted so much energy just to be at the job in the first place.
Proving It’s Possible
“He’s such a humble, kindhearted person,” Lamey gushed to the news outlet. “He’s really incredible. He said it was the way he was raised. Nothing is impossible unless you say it’s impossible.” She also shared that she believed their first encounter would be far from their last. Walter is exactly the kind of young person the Lameys wanted to keep around as a positive role model for their children who are currently 11, 13, and 16 years old.
Lamey still couldn’t get over just how much effort Walter had put into the job, not just in getting there on time, but in continuing to push his strength through the day. She wanted to make sure his efforts got the recognition he deserved, so she called his supervisor just to praise both his performance and his character. The same day, she also posted his story on her Facebook, if only because she was so impressed. The consequences would be far-reaching.
Paying It Forward
As Lamey recounted the story to Walter’s supervisor, the two of them found themselves overcome by his commitment. To complement her Facebook post, she decided to start a small GoFundMe page for Walter, hoping that she could raise around $2,000 in order to help him sort out the trouble he was having with his car. Instead, she would find the fundraiser was met with an overwhelmingly positive response. In the end, she raised over $44,000 for the hopeful Marine.
The Perks Roll In
Receiving a financial windfall at such a young age can often have more disastrous consequences. With that, one of the readers who found Walter’s story wanted to help him manage the money he had just come into. The man was a financial advisor by trade, and their help doesn’t usually come cheap. He was so impressed by Walter’s commitment to his work that he wanted to do the job for free in order to help the young man.
Walter was so grateful to have kept his job, he couldn’t have imagined just how big of an impression his efforts had made. Lamey didn’t tell him about her fundraiser, but he would soon find himself surprised behind his wildest expectations. It wasn’t just Lamey who wanted to thank him for his efforts, but even after one job, Bellhops wanted to shower him with some much-deserved recognition. With that, the CEO, Luke Marklin, decided to give him a call.
Meeting The Big Wigs
When Walter picked up the strange number calling his phone, he was surprised to find that the CEO himself was calling to express his appreciation for Walter’s work ethic. Beyond wanting to express just how impressed he was that someone like Walter wanted to work for his company, he wanted to meet Walter in person. The two arranged to meet at a local cafe a few days later, but Marklin had a few more tricks up his sleeves.
Plane, Train, Or…
The day of Walter’s meeting dawned clear and balmy, like any other morning in an Alabama summer. The cafe they’d chosen for their meeting wasn’t exactly close by, but it wasn’t as far away as Walter’s job. Given that he still hadn’t been able to get his car fixed, Walter walked to the restaurant, though the journey only took him a brief 20 minutes. The move served to reinforce just how far he was willing to go in order to get things done.
Earning His Keep
When Walter arrived for his meeting with Marklin, little did he know that Lamey and several of his colleagues were waiting in the wings to take part in the big surprise they had planned. Before even entering the cafe, Marklin intercepted Walter in the parking lot, where he handed him a pair of keys. Marklin explained they were for a 2014 Ford Escape, which Marklin had driven all the way to Alabama, just to gift to the hard-working young employee.
With Flying Colors
“We set a really high bar for heart and grit and … you just blew it away,” Marklin explained to the stunned teenager. Even as Marklin was pressing the keys into his hands, he could hardly believe the moment was real. Walter was beyond grateful to everyone who had helped him along the way in the past few days, and he was overcome by their generosity. Not only that, he couldn’t wait to test out his new car.
Beyond His Wildest Imagination
Walter felt like his eyes were popping out of his head when he saw that he was truly being given a car. After everything he had gone through, even walking to the meeting that day, he felt like his prayers had at last been answered. In reflection, Walter shared, “The lesson of my story is it’s great to reach people, I always wanted to inspire people. Don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do something. It’s up to us whether we can.”
She gave him a look that he instantly recognized. They rushed out of the door and right to the maternity ward. Now that the work for him was over, he could take a deep breath.
Soon the tense wait was behind him and he was looking at his newborn children. But these children clearly weren’t from him.
Rachel and her husband Aaron were both doing the same work when they met and fell in love. They first saw each other while working as Presbyterian missionaries. It wasn’t long before they tied the knot and began thinking about children.
They were ecstatic to be considering children but Aaron felt bad that he wouldn’t be able to give Rachel the children she wanted. They decided to have a mature conversation about what they’d do moving forward.
It felt like their lives were going according to plan. Every twist and turn was an adventure. But they soon found that they needed something more to feel truly happy.
Aaron thought adoption would be a good alternative. Rachel on the other hand had trepidation. Then an opportunity arose that they couldn’t pass up.
Two children were in need of a home and Rachel thought this was a sign. So they decided to make them a part of the family.
Soon Rachel felt that they were pretty much her own children now. But she did still pine to give birth to a child that she could truly say was a reminder of their love.
Not Giving Up
It would be a hard and long road to try and conceive children of their own. All the doctors gave them the same news. Rachel even had to talk to her close friends about it.
But then something happened and Rachel knew she couldn’t hide it from Aaron forever. She had to break the news to him somehow.
Rachel was pregnant, it would be the best news that Aaron could ever hear in his life. She was carrying a baby in her belly.
He loved his adopted kids so much he couldn’t begin to imagine how much he’d love a kid that shared his DNA. But the doctor had news that Aaron wouldn’t be able to comprehend.
Rachel was pregnant, but not from Aaron. It was rather from an artificial insemination that they had given a shot a few weeks back.
They believed in using ethnic minority embryos for the insemination. It was just something that Aaron thought felt right. It would be a beautiful family.
Two embryos were inseminated to increase the chances of getting pregnant. But that meant in the end that she would be having twins!
Their family shot from four members to six in just one day. But fate would throw something their way that they would never have anticipated.
It was finally time, Rachel had Aaron rush her to the maternity ward just before she went into labor. The twins clearly wanted to finally come out into the world.
The hospital facilities and staff were amazing. The labor was as easy as it could have been and with Aaron right by his wife, she knew she’d make it through it. But even the doctor looked surprised when he first looked at the kids.
Watching Her Health
The doctors told them that when a mother undergoes a pregnancy with multiple babies, there’s a good chance the full-term pregnancy isn’t completed. Since she was going to give birth to twins her husband had to keep a watchful eye on her and make sure nothing happened.
The doctors ultimately chose to perform a C-section for the safeties of the babies and the mother. But the doctor found something that made him gasp. He couldn’t believe this.
Seeing the look on the doctor’s face, Aaron began to panic. Was something wrong? Were the babies okay? Then, the doctor looked up and said two words that sent a chill down his spine.
And when Aaron finally saw the babies with his own eyes, he took a closer look and couldn’t stop crying.
Aaron will remember that day in the hospital for the rest of his life. And he certainly hadn’t planned for this. He looked over at Rachel to monitor her reaction to the doctor’s news.
Rachel and Aaron were expecting twins. They were thinking about the names of their would-be children. However, it became clear that they would need to think of another name.
More Than Two
Aaron was already expecting two African-American babies when his wife went into labor, but he certainly wasn’t expecting three. The doctor cried “it’s triplets!” But how had this even happened?
The doctor questioned the couple, asking them if they were sure that Rachel had only been implanted with two embryos. Aaron’s mouth dropped open. That couldn’t be right, could it?
Although Aaron already considered himself a fully-fledged father to Ford and Catherine, nothing prepared him for the feeling he had inside the operating room.
But when the doctor pulled him aside and began to question him about the embryos they had adopted, he just didn’t know what to think. Something wasn’t adding up. They had adopted two embryos, not three.
It turned out that, unbeknownst to the couple, one of the embryos had split again, making triplets. When the babies were ready, Aaron excitedly held them in his arms.
He couldn’t believe how beautiful his three new children were and that finally, they have the family they’d always dreamed of. But life still had more surprises in store.
Rachel gave birth to Anne, Whitley, and Ryley in 2016. Even though it was not exactly what they had in mind, it turned out to be even better.
As soon as the triplets were born, Rachel and Aaron felt that their family was finally complete. The couple was full of happiness. But they never expected the heartache that soon followed.
Although they didn’t share the same DNA or ethnicity with their five kids, the Halberts was proud to be their parents. They appreciated the beauty of their interracial family.
“In our minds, we are just living out our dream. A dream that may not look like the average family, but one that we are thankful could come true in light of our country’s history,” Aaron continued. But did their family support them?
Richer And Fuller
“The beauty of a multi-ethnic family is found there, in the fact that the differences are the very thing that makes ours richer and fuller. It pushes you to think in a new way about how you think, speak, act, and live.”
“There is something beautiful and inspirational about being the only white face sitting and chatting with some of my African-American friends as my son gets his hair cut on a Saturday morning,” Aaron explained. But what did others think?
“It’s been heartening to see virtually all of our friends and family express overwhelming support for our family and the unusual ways we’ve built it,” Aaron said.
However, the new parents were surprised when they discovered that not everyone around them would be as supportive as their family and friends…
While Aaron and Rachel couldn’t have been prouder of their multi-ethnic family, some people had made a point of showing them what they thought.
“A black mother looked at us and just shook her head,” recalled Aaron. “And an elderly white woman looked at us with disgust.” But it would take more than that to get the Halbert family down.
“There will always be the older white woman in Walmart who stared at us with sheer disgust or the African-American mother who looked at us and just shook her head,” Aaron said in an interview with the Washington Post.
But, thankfully, they also had good experiences. The Halberts were aware that not everyone would agree with their diversity. However, they were not seeking anyone’s approval.
The family will more than likely have to deal with spectators who don’t agree with their life choices. The Halberts are aware that not all people are in favor of diversity. But, they don’t care about other people’s opinions.
Aaron said, “One of the central themes of Christianity is, after all, that God, through His Son, is calling people from every tongue, tribe, and nation.”
“Grasping diversity will make the world stronger as we marvel at God’s creative genius on display through his people’s varying pigments, personalities, and proficiencies,” Aaron explained.
“Our differences are cause for celebration, not scorn.” Besides standing for diversity, the couple also had something to say about embryo adoption.
The couple believes that adopting an embryo is just as important as adopting a child. After they did their own research, they discovered that there are still millions of embryos waiting to be adopted. The embryos that Rachel received had been frozen for 12 years!
Rachel said, “We were not saying that those lives are any more important than the lives of the babies and children waiting to be adopted all across the world. No, they are not any more important, but they are no less important either. All of our children’s lives are valued.”
Not For Everyone
Although the couple was happy with their decision to proceed with embryo adoption, they warn that it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. They also agree that it’s not for everyone.
“Embryo adoption can also be very difficult for the donor family. I know the decision to donate your frozen embryos for adoption is probably the hardest you’ll ever make. It can be so painful to know that someone else is raising your biological children,” explained Rachel.
Even though embryo adoption is not for everyone it was the perfect choice for Aaron and Rachel. The couple got triplets as well as the priceless experience of pregnancy.
Rachel describes the experience as “beautiful and unique.” She also demonstrated her gratitude to the “brave and selfless” biological parents who donate the embryos.
The Halberts were completely open-minded about the idea of adoption and went into the process with an open heart, and they received fantastic blessings in return.
Rachel had hoped she would have four or five kids but she never thought it would happen so fast. The children are happy and healthy. They have two great parents who teach them good values and impart good morals. We are certain that they will grow up to have compassion, kindness, and optimism just like their mom and dad. But how does Rachel cope with five kids?
Anyone who has a child will agree that that one child is enough to keep a mom busy. Now, imagine having five!
“My days are filled with feeding five hungry kiddos, changing lots of diapers, tending to household duties, shepherding little hearts, loving on and playing with all five, doing/learning how to do the hair of four beautiful girls and one handsome little guy, and finding a minute or two to eat some food myself,” said the mom. But there’s another question on everyone’s mind…
Would They Do It Again?
You may be wondering if Aaron and Rachel will adopt more children after their experience.
“We’ll see what the future holds. For now, we’re enjoying this phase of life right now,” explained Rachel in an interview. As we can imagine, five kids are sure to keep them fully occupied. But Aaron and Rachel have not given up on their other life goals.
After the triplets were born, they decided to relocate to Tegucigalpa. Aaron and Rachel work in the capital and give back to the less fortunate. The special duo also has equal responsibility in taking care of their five children.
Nevertheless, Rachel is now a full-time mom. But the Halberts remain in the city to share the gospel in every way possible.
All five children enjoy growing up in America and in Honduras.
The Halbert family portraits are definitely not traditional, but their variety and love for one another shines through. The Halberts have displayed their humanity through their remarkable family story, and the children look happier than ever. Moreover, people around the world thank them for adopting children in need.
Since the first day of their incredible journey, Rachel and Aaron recognized the people who fully understand their missions and dreams in life.
They both know that they can’t have it all; however, they have enough to make their lives worth living. Rachel and Aaron shared that while many people look down on their family for having African-American children, none of them can ruin their happiness.