Ex-Military Man Tries To Revive A Failing Business His Dad Started With Him But Learns It Was About Something More Important Than Money

The real reason his dad gave everything to start a failing business was more touching than he ever knew.

Military man, father and son RODNAE Productions / Pexels, sebra / Shutterstock

Years after a family business closed up shop, one man wondered if his dad had any regrets about the end of the business. What his mom revealed to him would change his entire outlook on his relationship with his father.

He shared his story to the subReddit “r/TrueOffMyChest”, a place for users to share personal stories without seeking advice. He explained that after leaving the military, his father had asked for help in starting a plant business.


Years after it failed, however, he realized the business had never been about money, but saving his life.

The story begins in 2018, soon after the writer of the post had been discharged from the military, his dad came to him with a business pitch. He had always been a lover of plants — he kept many in the house — and had extensive knowledge of how to properly care for them, sometimes just by looking at them. 

He had never gone to school for the knowledge, he was just good with plants, something his son recognized and respected in him. At the time, he was working a full-time job, and would not have the time to dedicate to starting the new business without his son’s help.


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“[I] wasn't doing much, plus it was rare that he would ask for my help so I said sure,” the Reddit user explained. Within a couple of weeks, the shop was up and running. His dad was willing to teach him the details of all the plants they sold, and he quickly learned how to manage everything when his dad was away at work.


Still, his dad took every chance he could to come by the shop and help out, and for a little while, things were working out.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to last. With expensive rent and low foot traffic, as well as the fact that the dad “insisted” on paying his son a living wage, the company soon began “bleeding money.”

“Eventually I couldn't bear to see him work so hard and lose so much money and told him I didn't want to do it anymore,” he wrote. “The shop then closed and that was that.”

He never forgot about his dad’s business adventure, though. Between feeling bad about how it ended, and wanting his dad’s passion to succeed, the son decided that when he got enough money, he would try again to help his dad’s plant shop take off.


While considering this, he stopped to ask his mom for his dad’s perspective on things. He was wondering if starting it up again was ever something he considered, and to his surprise, his mother was confused by the question.

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Then she revealed the truth: 'He didn't start the business because he wanted to, he just wanted me to have something to keep me busy.'

To explain the meaning of this, the writer shared that he had been discharged from the military following a suicide attempt, and then spent time recovering in a psych ward. During his time in recovery, his dad would come to visit him frequently, trying to find ways to connect and give him things to look forward to.

At one point, he mentioned to his dad that “doing nothing all day” just made him feel worse, and then after that, his father had come up with the business idea. “He heard this little comment of mine and just.. went for it. He knew he was going to lose money, but did it anyway.”


Much of the money for the business came out of his dad’s own savings. It had never been about the money, or his passion. Just about keeping his son busy while he was recovering from depression.

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The news has absolutely blown this man away, leaving him with an overwhelming desire to express his gratitude and affection to his father.

The two have never been comfortable with verbalizing affection towards one another, so he is now brainstorming ways to express his gratitude and love without putting it into words. Some users have suggested they visit a botanical garden together or spend time with at-home plant hobbies together.

He is grateful for the suggestions, even though he doubts that it will ever feel enough to fully express what his dad’s gesture meant to him, but he is certain it will be a start.


He also agreed that doing his best to live a full and happy life is important to both him and his dad as well, and shared that he has been doing much better mentally since the time of the business. 

He has since begun pursuing a degree in counseling, and he points to his father as a big reason for wanting to carry on with his life. Even before the business, his dad’s support during his time at the psych ward left an incredible impact.

His closing message of the post reveals what he has truly wished to get off of his chest all along: “In the meantime though, thank you, Dad. I love you.”


If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

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Hawthorn Martin is a news and entertainment writer living in Texas. They focus on social justice, pop culture, and human interest stories.