A hard-working set of parents cried tears of joy when they thought they were checking out their daughter’s new home but were informed it was theirs instead.
Derek Malu and his wife Patricia’s journey had taken them from New Zealand and Tonga to Australia, the United States and back to Australia again, all in the name of giving their eight kids the best possible life.
Having moved to the U.S. in 1995, Derek, 59, worked odd jobs trying to make ends meet for his family, but some days they went hungry, his daughter, Ella Standring, 36, from Sydney, said.
With opportunities in the U.S. not arising, the family’s church helped them return to Australia in 2000, where Derek continued to work 12- to 16-hour shifts to support his family.
In 2009, Ella met her now-husband Daimen, who she spoke to about her family’s story and made a declaration: she wanted them to stop stressing about renting and would one day buy her parents a house.
The couple worked out a plan, and over the next decade, they budgeted accordingly to allow them to save enough money to put down a deposit by 2020.
Over the three years that followed – during which time Ella and Daimen also bought Derek his first-ever car – the couple watched a new-build home come together, telling their parents a story that would be watertight until the big surprise.
Ella told Derek, Patricia, and others that the new home would be hers and Daimens, and that the intention was for her parents to live in it.
Over the final months of the build, though, Ella started asking her mom about the likes of room colors, leading up to the handing over of the keys on August 10.
With Daimen holding the keys and Ella’s sister Francis recording, Daimen then gave a short speech before presenting Derek – who thought he was looking around his daughter’s home – with the keys to his very own house.
The moment became too much for the proud parents, who both cried joyfully and hugged their daughter and son-in-law.
Ella said: “My dad’s reaction was obviously one of shock, but I think it was also one of absolute relief from the pressure of close to 40 years of working to put food on the table for 8 hungry mouths, knowing that tomorrow is going to be brighter and the next generation of kids doesn’t have to feel that same pressure.
“It was overwhelming, really.
“I have been getting messages from everyone saying how good it is to see my dad so shaken and how good it is that we were able to give back to our Mum and Dad.
“Others can do this – it takes sacrifice, humility and teamwork.
“It’s not impossible, but it is hard.
“Set your sights and don’t get distracted by the other things in the world.
“Mostly, honor your parents and learn from their sacrifices to make a better life for your children.”