The story revolves around a wealthy lawyer who hears his son ridiculing a boy whose father works as a grocery packer. The lawyer decides to teach his spoiled son a memorable lesson and swaps their lives for an entire summer. The son, who had no idea what was coming, is forced to live as the less fortunate boy and experience his life firsthand.
Mr. Frazer, a wealthy lawyer, and his 15-year-old son, Kevin, were enjoying their shopping trip that evening until Kevin began pestering his father about letting him go on an all-boys trip to Ibiza, despite his father’s refusal. As they approached the checkout, Kevin argued with his dad, saying, “Dad, that’s not fair. I’m tired of your ridiculous rules. You always say no to everything.”
“You have to realize that you’re still young, and going on trips without adult supervision can be risky. Moreover, it involves a considerable amount of money. My answer remains negative,” the father explained to his disappointed son.
The boy was crestfallen and began to roll his eyes. “Yeah, sure. You’re so boring, dad…You never let me have any fun.”
“Kevin, be mindful of your tone. We’re in a store, and you’re causing a scene,” the father cautioned his son.
Kevin grunted, feeling ashamed, and headed towards the checkout. When he arrived at the counter, he noticed a boy his age and his father, who worked as a grocery packer at the store, standing next to the cashier and laughing.
Already in a foul mood, Kevin became enraged, assuming they were laughing at him, and charged towards them.
“Hey, what you two laughin’ at, huh? Do I look funny to you?” Kevin spat out, gritting his teeth and his voice dripping with venom.
“If you have a little more brains to keep your mouths shut, you’ll find a better job, losers.”
Store packer Frank and his son, Johnny, were stunned at the boy’s temper and exchanged puzzled glances.
“Kevin, what are you doing?” Mr. Frazer whispered, making big eyes at his son. “Apologize to them. This is not how you talk to people.”
“Oh, come on, dad. Cut it. Stop giving me a sermon in front of these losers…Let’s go home.”
“I…I apologize, gentlemen,” Mr. Frazer murmured, his lips pursed tightly.
“It’s alright, sir. He’s just a young boy,” one of the men replied.
“Young boy? He’s not a young boy. He’s 15 years old. He can’t go around insulting people like that. It’s entirely my fault. I’ve spoiled him too much, particularly after his mother passed away. I should have taught him some manners. It’s becoming unmanageable now…I believe it’s time to put him in his place. What are your thoughts?” Mr. Frazer inquired.
Johnny’s father shook his head. “I’m not sure about that, sir. Also, it’s not my place to say anything.”
“I know…I know…” Mr. Frazer added anxiously. “You see, I always gave my son everything he wanted. I never said no to anything but just this time…For once, I refused him, and this brat is enraged.”
“I think you should show how clever you are without my money, Kevin! Why don’t you set an example for these people? Maybe then they might follow in your footsteps and find a better job…right, son?” Mr. Frazer scowled, turning to Kevin.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand. What do you mean, Dad?” Kevin asked.
Mr. Frazer then addressed the grocery packer. “Can you please tell me how your son plans to spend his summer vacation?”
“We usually send him to work on our family farm, sir… My brother takes care of it, and I send my son every summer to assist him,” the packer replied.
Mr. Frazer’s face lit up, and he beamed with joy.
“N-No, no, no… Dad? What are you doing? Why are you asking him all that?” Kevin asked, bewildered.
“Would it be alright if my son took your son’s place on the farm this summer?” Mr. Frazer suggested, taking Kevin aback.
“Your son Johnny will come home with me and replace my son in his traditional summer occupation by doing NOTHING! And my son will stay with your brother on the farm and WORK. Deal?”
“What? Are you serious, sir?” the packer chuckled. “Our sons switching places? It would be funny…But will it work?”
“Dad…OMG…What? No…You can’t be serious…No…I’m not going anywhere.”
Mr. Frazer laughed wickedly, and both the dads shook hands and exchanged their numbers and addresses as Kevin’s mouth hung open in shock.
“In two days, my son will be at your brother’s farm, and your son Johnny will be with me.”
Kevin begged and cried…and argued. But nothing changed his dad’s mind, and he was forced to switch places with Johnny if he wanted any form of help from his dad. So on a Friday morning, Kevin arrived at the farm in the town nearby.
“Ugh, what’s that terrible smell?” Kevin muttered as he stepped out of his car, covering his nose with a handkerchief. The scent of horse and cow manure mixed with decomposing vegetables wafted through the fresh air, causing Kevin to wrinkle his nose in disgust.
“It’s unbearable. Can’t you do something about it?” he asked.
“Welcome to the rural life, buddy!” Johnny’s uncle Billy chuckled. “You’ll become accustomed to it eventually!”
“Rural life bull—” Kevin scoffed. “Alright, where’s my room? I need to take a shower.”
“This is your room…but it’s not entirely yours. You’ll have to share it with your roommate, Tony,” Billy replied.
“Tony? Who’s Tony?” Kevin inquired.
“He’s going to be your assistant from today,” said Billy, pointing outside the window. The boy gasped at seeing an older man, likely in his 70s, swatting the sweat with his muddy hands as he tilled the soil.
Kevin disappointedly muttered under his breath and got started for the day. He showered and was lazing on the bed when he heard a gruff voice—”Get up, blond boy. We ain’t got no time to sleep during work. And I want you to change into these work clothes…Here.”
“My name is Kevin. Not blond boy. And I don’t want to dress in these awful uncomfortable rags.”
“Yeah, whatever. Now read this and get going. Soon. Move it,” Tony shoved the list of duties in Kevin’s hands.
“Muck the stables? Bathe the pigs? Pick the dung? What the hell? This was not what I was signed up for. They said farm work. I thought it was cultivation. Cropping. Pruning. That’s what they do in farms.”
“Ha ha ha! Farming is not gardening in ya backyard, champ. Here, now move it. I’ll see ya at the stable…And watch ya step, blond boy!” Tony chuckled as he shoved a poo scooper in Kevin’s hands.
“These darn flies…leave me alone…go…ewww…shoo….” Kevin began swatting the flies and pirate bugs buzzing around his head as he entered the stable. But they kept coming back for more.
“Oh no, no, no! This can’t be happening. My new shoes….” Kevin grimaced, stepping onto a fresh pile of horse dung.
“Ugh, this is so disgusting than I thought. How can anyone work here? I’m not doing this.”
As Kevin stomped into the stables, the horses welcomed him with a loud chorus of neighs. Startled by the sound, the boy bolted out in his dung-stained sneakers and was caught by Tony.
“Where do ya think ya goin’, champ? Did ya clean the stable?”
“No…I am feeling sick. I can’t do it today. I’m not used to….” Kevin threw up.
“Hmmm…well, in that case, I have another task for ya.”
Before Kevin could sigh with relief and make up another excuse, Tony led him to the barn, and he was greeted by mooing cows and the smell of fresh dung and hay.
“Oh great, now what?”
“Milk that cow!” said Tony as he shoved a bucket in Kevin’s hands. “And hurry up, kid. The more ya delay, the more deductions from your pay…Every penny counts. So move it, will ya?”
With a bucket in hand, Kevin approached the cow with apprehension. He had never been close to a cow before, let alone milked one. He relied solely on Tony’s strict instructions on how to milk a cow as he approached a big, fat Brown Swiss cow that was munching on hay.
Kevin crept slowly behind the cow to avoid frightening it, then placed the bucket under its udder and crouched down to grab one of its teats. However, just as he began milking, the cow kicked the bucket, sending it flying across the barn.
“That was close,” Kevin exclaimed, running across the hay, crawling on all fours, terrified by the cow’s sudden outburst.
He picked up the bucket, placed it back under the cow, and as he reached for the udder again, he nervously looked around to ensure no one was watching him struggle.
Kevin sighed a deep breath when the cow seemed to cooperate this time. He began milking and pulled harder to make it fast. But to his shock, the cow suddenly kicked its leg, sending the bucket flying with the milk spilling everywhere.
“Hey, stop!” Kevin yelled, jumping back to avoid the mess. As he sat there, trying to catch his breath, he felt a sudden wetness seeping through his hoodie. He looked up, his eyes bulging with horror, when he saw the cow lifting its tail and peeing all over him.
“Ha ha ha! Did Bessie give ya a good shower, blond boy? Ha ha ha!” Tony burst into laughter when he happened to be nearby and saw everything.
“Stop laughin’…This is not what I came here for. They said farm work. I thought it would be on the fields. Not with these darn animals…and dung and…urine. Gosh…I hate my life here. I want to go home.”
As Tony rolled with laughter, Kevin angrily stomped back to the farmhouse, soaked in milk, dung, and cow urine.
“Looks like you had a rough time with Bessie, eh?” Billy chuckled. But Kevin was so mad and burning with rage as he slammed the bathroom door shut behind him.
Later that day, Kevin had to clean the chicken coop, carry tufts of hay to the shed and do everything he was not used to doing.
He was exhausted, and his stomach rumbled as he sat down at the farm’s kitchen table for dinner. But his heart sank when he looked down at the food in front of him.
“Cornbread, wheat porridge, bacon, and boiled vegetables? You eat this for dinner?” he gasped, wrinkling his forehead. This was different from the gourmet cuisine he was used to dining back home.
“We serve pot roast and bread on weekends. All the other days, it’s just simple healthy food,” explained Billy.
Kevin sighed as he swallowed hard, disgusted at every bite of the dish, while the farmer and his family ate heartily, laughing and chatting.
But the boy couldn’t bring himself to take another bite. He pushed his plate away, his stomach still grumbling, and marched to his room to get some sleep.
Kevin lay in his bed, trying to drift off to sleep after a long day at work. But the incessant buzz of mosquitoes annoyed him. He pulled the sheets up over his head, tossed and turned in frustration, and it was all too much to bear.
Kevin dozed off and suddenly woke up to loud, rumbling snores coming from Tony’s bed.
“Shut up…Can you shut up and let me sleep? Hey…cut it,” he shouted, but Tony was sound asleep.
Kevin was so annoyed. It had been only a day at the farm, but it had already started feeling like he couldn’t take it anymore.
“I cannot spend an entire summer here. I need to get out,” he broke down.
Kevin slipped out of bed and began stuffing his things in his backpack, careful not to disturb his slumbering roommate, as he plotted his escape.
At the break of dawn, the boy silently crept out of the farmhouse and made his way toward the highway. As he waited anxiously by the roadside, a sense of freedom washed over him when he spotted a truck approaching in the distance.
“I’m sorry dad…No. Dad, please forgive me, I won’t…” Kevin hitchhiked back to the city, rehearsing his apology to his father. He was excited every step of the way home, but his heart dropped when he arrived outside his house.
“DAD?” he gasped, and his hands drooped.
His father and Johnny were playing basketball. They were laughing and chatting, tossing the ball back and forth and giving high fives.
Kevin had always yearned for his dad’s attention and would beg him to play soccer on weekends. But Mr. Frazer never had the time and was always busy at work. But now, things seemed so different.
Kevin stood there, seething with anger. He felt robbed of the love and attention he yearned for from his father. And as Johnny scored another point and cheered loudly, Kevin turned around and walked away.
“Kevin, hey, where have you been all day? I was looking for you. Are you okay, buddy?” Billy ran to the boy after seeing him drag his bag across the farm. “Ummm…we’ll talk later. Now wash up and see you at dinner.”
As Kevin sat down to eat, he watched the family laugh and joke and noticed the joy among them. He quietly ate his meal, up to the last crumb, without grumbling, and returned to his room, only to find Tony snoring again. Kevin was disheartened, but there was nothing much he could do.
The next morning, Tony and Billy were in for a huge surprise when they saw Kevin cleaning the stable and feeding the horses.
“That’s weird…ya up so early, blond boy?”
“Yeah…coz I don’t want to get shouted at for nothing. My name is Kevin. Not blond boy.”
Kevin was vexed. The smell of horse manure and rotten hay disgusted him. Everywhere he looked, there were only animals and birds and dung. But he realized he had to get used to it now and started doing his duties to the best of his abilities.
He cleaned the chicken coop, mowed the lawn, washed the horses and cows, fed the pigs, and did everything he had never done before. He even learned to milk the cow without getting kicked.
Although the boy adapted to the new surroundings, he still hated farm life. He yearned to return to his home in the city and return to his normal, carefree life.
But whenever Kevin thought about going back home, the only thing that haunted his mind was his father’s fondness for Johnny. He forced himself to stay on the farm no matter what it took, and one Friday evening, there was a knock on his door.
“Oh no, I hope it’s not Tony again. I’m so tired, and he wants me to do more chores,” Kevin panicked.
As he opened the door, he was surprised to find a young girl standing there.
“Hi, I’m Samantha, Johnny’s cousin. I came home for the holidays, and my dad told me we have a guest. Do you want to come for a walk?”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” Kevin blushed. “Yes, sure.”
“I was thinking, would you like to come with me to the barn dance tonight?”
“Me? To the barn dance?”
“Yes! I heard you’re from the city, and I’m sure you like to dance. I thought it would be fun if we went together.”
“That sounds great…yes, I would love to go with you.”
Kevin and Samantha danced the night away, surrounded by people of all ages having a good time. They had fun, laughed, and swayed around the dance floor, and as the night wore on, they took breaks to chat and enjoy each other’s company.
The next day, Kevin joined Samantha and a group of teens and adults on a mountain camping trip. For the first time in days, Kevin felt happy inside out, and he slowly started falling in love with country life.
“Wow, these mountains…they are incredible!” he sighed.
“You like ’em? I come here every year with my dad and friends. It’s so beautiful in the fall. And in winter, it looks like white heaven.”
“Hey, who wants to go on a hike?” Billy interrupted.
As they hiked, Kevin couldn’t help but feel thrilled. He’d never been on a camping trip before with his family, as his father was always busy at work. And after Kevin lost his mom five years ago, things were never the same.
“Did ya like the trip, blond boy? I bet ya do! Now go to sleep coz we have hell lotta work tomorrow, champ,” said Tony when Kevin returned, tired and excited.
“Well, yeah…kind of…you know. Back in the city, ’twas just skyscrapers and traffic…and people and parties. I thought that was life. But ova here…it’s…it’s different. I think I kinda love this place now.”
As Kevin began to settle into peaceful country life, he learned to appreciate the comfort of hard work and simplicity. He stopped grumbling and poured his heart and soul into his work every day. But in the midst of that joy, Kevin had an unexpected visitor two weeks later.
He was sitting on the porch, basking in the warmth and calmness of the countryside, when he saw Johnny approaching.
“Johnny? Wha-what are you doin’ here?” Kevin was shocked when he saw the packer’s son on the farm.
“I couldn’t do it anymore, man. I miss my old life. Let’s switch back…you go to your home, and I stay on the farm with my uncle. That’s it. I’m not going back there again,” Johnny pleaded.
Johnny, who had grown up on the farm since childhood, had always dreamed of a cozy and luxurious life. So when his dad and Kevin’s dad struck the deal of swapping his place with Kevin, he was thrilled.
Deep down, Johnny was excited about getting to live Kevin’s privileged upbringing for a while and the luxuries that came with it. But now, after only two weeks in Kevin’s shoes, Johnny had become desperate to return home, back to his country life.
“It’s so boring in your house, pal. I can’t sit alone in your room anymore. It has got the most expensive toys, computers, and consoles. But it was fun only during the first week. I feel so lonely there….”
“And you know what? I spent time only once with your father while playing basketball. All the other times, he was too busy to even look at me.”
Later that day, Kevin’s dad arrived at the farm to see how he was doing and was pretty stunned when the boy refused to go home with him.
“I like it here, dad…Besides, I want to spend the holidays with my friends here.”
Mr. Frazer and Johnny’s uncle winked at each other and left the boys on their own.
Kevin and Johnny explored the countryside together for the rest of the summer. They worked on the farm and enjoyed the satisfaction of a day’s hard work. Ultimately, Kevin began to appreciate the beauty and happiness in the simple life he once despised. He realized the importance of respecting people for who they are, not by how they look or what they do.