A little boy stared at the giant plate glass window.
"Come along, Johnny."
"But-" He cast one more longing glance as his mother led him away.
Two days later, he again looked longingly at the items in the window.
"See something you like, young fellow?" A gentleman stood beside him.
"My momma told me not to talk to strangers." Johnny stepped to his right.
"Your mother is a wise woman. I'm rather partial to the violin in the corner."
Johnny hesitated a moment. "I like the train."
"Ah, the train. A very good choice. I used to have a train set like that. Shall we go inside and see how much it costs?"
"Twelve dollars. My sister told me. I can't have it because I've been bad."
"Bad? Why is that?"
Johnny hung his head. "I can't tell." He turned and walked away, shuffling his feet.
The elderly gentleman stroked his small white beard and frowned. He entered the store and inquired about the cost of the train.
"Twelve dollars, but it's not for sale."
"Why is it in the window, if it's not for sale?"
"That kid you were talking to? He walked in while his sister was smoking. She pawned it in front of him, so he wouldn't tell their parents." The store owner's voice dropped as other customers entered. "I felt sorry for the kid, so I keep it where he can see it."
"I see. Can we speak in private?"
A week later, Johnny ran to the store and stopped cold. My train! It's gone! Tears streamed down his face as he pushed open the heavy door.
"You promised! And it's gone. Why? I told you I'd be back. Why?" Johnny threw a fistful of dollar bills on the counter and crumpled to the floor.
He felt a soothing hand on his back. "Johnny, your train is safe."
Johnny sniffed. "S-safe? But where is it? I told you I'd be back for it, and it's gone."
"Sit up and dry your eyes." Johnny sat up, took the tissue and blew his nose. "Here's your money, son. I think if you go home, you'll find it in your toy box."
"Just go home."
Johnny struggled to his feet and hugged the store owner. "Thanks mister, for taking care of my train."
He ran from the store and all the way home. Sure enough, there in his room was his beloved toy train, with a note.
"No little boy should be without his favorite toy. Enjoy! Signed, a friend."