The first chapter is told by Aibileen. It is here in the second section of this chapter that she talks about losing her 24-year-old son, Treelore. He had been working a night job at a mill, loading lumber onto a truck. It was dark and raining. He slipped off the loading dock and was accidentally run over and killed. (In the movie version, this story is slightly different and is tied more closely to the racial divide. The white foreman took the boy to the black hospital and just dumped him there. They could do no more for him, so Aibileen brought him home to die.) Aibileen was devastated. She finally picked herself up five months later and went to work at the Leefolt household, after Elizabeth had baby Mae Mobley. She admits,
But it weren’t too long before I seen something in me had changed. A bitter seed was planted inside a me. And I just didn’t feel so accepting anymore.
Treelore's death, followed by clashes between the races on the streets of Jackson, had embittered Aibileen, in spite of her commitment to her faith and her church.