Everyone thought he was dirt poor | countrymom

**This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that were witnessed firsthand by me; used with permission.

Living in a small town you quickly get to know everyone around you, including the people who live on the street. One such man we’ll call Sam was quite elderly and wore the same pair of overalls every day. If you got too close you might wonder if that was all he owned and you might wish you hadn’t been downwind of him.

About once a year he would come to the local homeless shelter and take a shower and receive a new pair of overalls. Then, he would sit down for a warm meal and visit with those around him. I was serving lunch one afternoon when Sam stopped in.

Sam asked me about my kids and what I’d been up to. We talked about my family for a few minutes and then I asked him how his family was doing. Truthfully, I was just trying to make small talk so when Sam told me he had a brother in town I was quite surprised.

I asked Sam why he didn’t stay with his brother and he told me that he and his brother didn’t get along, which was too bad. I told him I was sorry that they didn’t get along and made a mental note to ask some friends of mine who had lived in town for longer than I had what had happened.

A few days later I asked my friends if they knew what had happened between Sam and his brother. My friends told me that they had no idea what had happened so I let it go. Sam continued to stop periodically at the homeless shelter where I volunteered and we always spent some time visiting.

Sam made it a point to stop in on birthdays (mine, his, other co-workers of mine) and holiday’s as well as for an annual shower and a new pair of overalls every June. One June passed with no sighting of Sam. Everyone was concerned and finally, Sam was found dead. He had fallen and injured himself near a campsite that he often frequented.

His brother was notified and a memorial service was arranged. The entire town went to the service. This is where everyone in town was shocked. During the service, it was revealed that Sam was actually quite wealthy. He had left a letter to the Homeless Shelter donating his money to them.

I sat in awe. We were all speechless at the homeless shelter. Sam had been a multi-millionaire and chosen to live in abject poverty. Though we’ll never fully understand why Sam made this choice, we all had loved him regardless of his wealth. Maybe, Sam was afraid people would love him for his money and not for himself. We’ll never know.

We set up a fund for those in need in our town, we paid off the building that housed the homeless shelter, and we started a scholarship fund in Sam’s name. Today, Sam is remembered as a humble generous man and the new folks in town hear stories about Sam and his legendary gift from him to the town.

Have you ever known someone like Sam? Share with us in the comments.

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