The elderly gentleman entered the business dressed modestly and spoke softly. He was seeking assistance, but a forceful salesman shooed him away.
They made derogatory remarks and informed him that he didn’t belong there. They had no idea that the feeble old man would have the last laugh.
Army veteran Robert Jack served during the Vietnam War. His service in the military left him permanently scarred, but he found happiness in his marriage to Katie.
As he approached his senior years, Robert was confronted with new challenges, and he did everything he could to maintain optimism. Would it, however, be sufficient?
Katie and Robert had been married for many years. They fell in love in high school, and the rest is history. However, as they aged, the problems began stacking up. The family had recently hit a challenging period, and he felt disoriented.
His wanderings led him to an excellent car dealership one day. Everyone in the dealership immediately noticed him. For what purpose was he there? Was he in need of help in any way?
There were very few clients at the car dealership, which was quite unusual. However, the people who worked there quickly adjusted to the quiet store and weren’t too worried.
The staff was responsible for identifying people who would be able to afford to buy any of the cars displayed in the store. The majority of individuals came into the showroom to look at the pricey cars but had neither the desire nor the financial means to purchase one. As a result, they were quick to identify the old man as a visitor who shouldn’t be there. Was that, however, the correct deduction?
Those seasoned managers were able to identify potential buyers from a mile away, thanks to their trained eyes. Thus, when the dealership doors opened, and a hobbled-over old man with a small canvas bag walked inside, the sales manager became disinterested immediately.
It was determined that this man was not in the market for a car. Perhaps he thought it was a grocery or something alike; he was probably perplexed.
The salespeople were taken aback by the old man’s odd behavior. He approached the front desk and requested that the receptionist keep an eye on his bag, which she carefully placed next to her.
The old man then began to study the cars in the display hall with great care. He was clothed in a dirty cowboy shirt, baggy pants, and an old hat, all of which appeared to be derogatory. One salesperson, in particular, kept an incredulous look on his face as he observed the elderly man. He wasn’t going to wait any longer before addressing the elderly gentleman.
The salesman assumed the elderly gentleman was destitute and possibly insane. He assumed the man had merely stopped in to gaze at the pricey cars.
The elderly gentleman methodically scrutinized each car until he eventually decided on the most expensive one. He inquired about the engine’s power and whether he could have a test drive. The salesman shook his head, plainly disgusted.
The salesman, who had grown tired of watching the elderly guy, approached him and informed him that the car’s price had doubled and that it had been allocated for someone else.
The car, however, still had a price tag on it. Isn’t that implying that the vehicle was still available for purchase? The salesman recommended that the elderly man rent a car from a used car rental agency. Robert, on the other hand, would not give in.
The entire sales staff began laughing as soon as the salesman came up with the rental place. Only Richard, who recently joined the team, did not laugh.
It was as though the old man was enveloped by a herd of hyenas chasing him around like a poor lamb. In an effort to change the other salesman’s behavior, Richard stepped closer and asked whether he wanted to see the car.
It didn’t go over well with the salesman. Meanwhile, the elderly gentleman remained calm while waiting to get access to the car’s inside.
“Take a look at this car; it’s worth $200,000. I don’t see how you’d be able to afford it,” the salesman taunted, disgustedly looking Robert in the eyes. “Letting you test drive it will be a complete waste of my time!”
Robert was shocked to be treated this way, but, sadly, he was also used to it. He calmly stood and said, “How do you know I can’t afford it?” Then, he calmly asked to test drive the car again.
The salesman was growing visibly frustrated now. He pointed to the “Right of Admission Reserved” sign above the reception desk. But Robert refused to budge.
“I have been in this business for a long time,” the salesman spat.” I can spot a time-waster from a mile away. The way you’re dressed tells me that you could never afford this car. I’m going to ask you to leave. now”
However, the angry salesman called security instead, who escorted the strange Robert to the exit. The salesman was glad he got rid of the old man. But that wasn’t actually the case.
Even though he was used to it, the unjust treatment almost brought him to tears. Hunched over, he began to walk away. At that same moment, the leadership administrator saw the bag left behind by the old man.
Unwilling to touch the grubby satchel, she used her foot to push it towards the door. The other employees laughed when they saw it, but Richard wasn’t even smiling.
Just then, a woman and a little girl walked in. She gave Robert a wide berth as she passed him through the doorway.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, she leaned down and pretend-whispered something to her daughter: “This is why you have to stay in school. Otherwise, you’ll end up poor and dirty like him.” The entire floor erupted with laughter.
Robert froze. That was it. He had been very patient and understanding – not just then, but so many times before. He wasn’t going to stay quiet anymore.
“Excuse me,” he said, trying to make his posture as unthreatening as possible as he looked straight into everyone’s eyes one by one. “But I couldn’t help hearing what you said to your daughter.”
Robert had brushed off so many rude moments before because it wasn’t worth the effort of fighting back. But this time, he wasn’t going to stay quiet.
This was going to be a life lesson that nobody in the car dealership would forget. “Being poor doesn’t mean someone deserves to be talked about that way,” he said assertively. But his next words made everyone’s eyes widen.
“I’m in construction,” Robert said. “But I’m a very dirty, very educated man.” He explained how not only did he have a college degree, but he also had a few medical certificates.
“Even though I’m old, I haven’t been able to retire because I have to pay my wife’s medical bills,” Robert said. “Shame on all of you!” But he wasn’t done.
“Assuming that I’m uneducated and poor just because of my appearance is pure ignorance. But, even if I was poor, unemployed, or homeless, you don’t get the right to judge me.”
Robert angrily swooped to grab his bag off the floor. He opened it and briefly flashed its contents to the room. Everyone, including the rude salesman, was completely dumbfounded.
With that, Robert turned to walk out. The salesman, seeing the commission he could have earned off the car in his mind, scrambled to try and convince him to make the sale.
Now, they were all trying to fawn over him and apologize. Robert smirked. He had had enough though, so he took his bag and walked straight out the door.
The young salesman, Richard, went after him. Luckily, the elderly man hadn’t gotten far. Embarrassed, he apologized profusely for his colleagues’ appalling behavior.
The old man knew that Richard hadn’t been part of any of it. He just smirked and opened his bag to show the contents to the young salesman. Richard couldn’t believe his eyes.
The old man was mistaken for a homeless person, but there were bundles of 100-dollar bills inside his bag. Richard was intrigued and looked questioningly at Robert.
The old man coughed and closed his bag. He then began his story. He introduced himself to the nice young salesman and proceeded to tell the tale of his lifetime. Richard was left speechless.
Robert told Richard that he’d worked hard all his life. Even though he was getting on in years, he still worked with his own hands.
He had just come from a construction site – that was why he looked dirty and poor. Although he had earned good money, he hadn’t been able to retire because he had to look after his wife, Katie.
Robert explained that his wife had been fighting cancer for several years and seemed to be losing the fight.
Even though Robert and Katie hadn’t been poor by any means, the high cost of her chemotherapy over the years had almost bankrupted them. He had managed to keep them afloat, But that wasn’t enough. Robert wanted to do more for his wife.
Realizing that the treatment wasn’t helping Katie anymore, Richard decided to fulfill his wife’s wish and buy her the car she’s always dreamed of driving. But he had to do it while she still had her mobility.
Unfortunately, by the time he had managed to save up enough money, the price of the car had increased substantially. He did not have enough money to buy the car he wanted.
Robert, determined to do this one last thing for his wife, sold all his possessions – including his gold wedding band. The last time Katie had seen the oncologist, he’d predicted that she only had around twelve more months to live.
Robert was shattered. Although he barely had any money or possessions left now, what good would they do if his wife wouldn’t be with him anyway? But he had just learned that he was still short $5,000.
When Richard found out how much money Robert needed, he got to thinking of a way to help. Richard knew that the car dealership could hardly afford such a discount.
After escorting the old man, Richard went back to work. He couldn’t shake his thoughts of the old man and Katie’s dream. Later that evening, the young salesman found himself at the old man’s door. What could he have wanted?
Holding a bundle of cash in his hand, the young salesman told Robert that he had brought the cash he needed. He told him to buy his wife the car.
Since he’d be the one selling Robert the car, he’d take the $5,000 from his commission. He quickly turned away and left before seeing the old man tear up.
The next day, Robert returned to the dealership. The salespeople could not understand how he could have changed so drastically.
The old man was now wearing his business suit, and he was carrying the same canvas bag. The rude salesman, thinking he’d gotten a second chance, started fawning over him, even begging for him to buy the car. “No,” said Robert. “I want to work with Richard.”
The old man opened the bag and showed everyone the piles of money he had. The previously rude salesman was furious when Richard stepped out of his office.
Robert didn’t hesitate and bought the car on the spot. He signed the paperwork with Richard, who would get the money he had given him back from the commission he deserved. Although it wasn’t the full amount, he was happy that he had helped Katie fulfill one of her dreams.
Everyone at the dealership was green with envy – for missing out on the commission for the sale and because the man they’d treated badly could buy such an expensive car. Robert went home, he took his wife by the hand, and led her out into the street, gesturing at her dream car. Katie was overwhelmed with joy. Finally, her lifetime dream had been fulfilled.
But Robert’s story isn’t the only one that teaches us not to judge a book by its cover. One woman was horrified when she learned who the homeless man she saw every day really was.
She looked down at the stained note crumpled in her hands. He had given it to her in a rush, something definitely wasn’t right. He had acted differently today.
As she unfolded the yellow paper she couldn’t believe what it said. To think she had gotten so close to him every day on her way to work or that she had even offered him a simple bite to eat. Her pulse raced like an Olympic runner going for gold as she had to sit down. Her grip on reality was shattered.
Mary Aldrin was a New York-born and raised. She knew that many people didn’t see the city the way she did. Many saw it as a dirty, dangerous place with a growing homeless problem.
But Mary did everything she could to help out others in need to show them that this city wasn’t all that bad, at least not to her. But the next person she would try to help would only be wasted on, she just didn’t know it yet.
She worked in hospitality and owned her very own bakery. It was enough to make ends meet and to support her child – Dominique. But with her daughter’s father out of the picture, it wasn’t always easy.
They had divorced right after she was born and even though the child support cheques came in, she found they didn’t even cover her daughter’s education. But she had no idea that someone important would appear in her life without warning.
Mary still kept a good attitude even with the hardships in her life. She knew a lot of people in the city had it worse than her. Recently she noticed a man staring at her as she walked past him every day.
He was clearly homeless but smiled at her through the dirt on his face. She could see a familiar spark in his eyes. Like he had hope even in his position. How could she stay pessimistic when he wasn’t? But she had no idea just who this man really was.
Mary walked to walk every day and decided to talk to the man. He seemed friendly enough, but not very talkative. There was a quality about him though, like the kind that she knew him from somewhere.
She chalked it up to his friendly face, which always felt familiar. But she was wrong. If only knew that she should have trusted her gut instinct about where she had seen him before.
Mary knew what she had to do – she decided to pack an extra lunch for the day. One was for her daughter, and one was for the man. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a healthy salad roll with a slice of cheese.
She smiled to herself thinking she was doing the right thing. But she wished she hadn’t tried giving him the lunch bag once she learned the truth about his identity.
She spotted him on her way to work and offered him the lunch bag. But without a word, he waved it away. Did he not want to accept this kind gesture?
She didn’t think too much of it while she lay in bed that night. But if only she knew the real reason why he didn’t accept her kind gesture.
This morning Mary was running late for work so she was moving at a busier pace than usual. But as she got to the corner where she saw the cheerful homeless man every day she noticed something different.
He looked gravely concerned about something, almost on the verge of tears. What had happened? Then she saw a scrap of paper in his hand.
He seemed distracted, he was looking around. Were they back again? It was clear that he was being watched, but what was the truth behind it all?
She approached him to ask if he was alright but he wouldn’t say a word. All he did was hand her a crumpled piece of paper and nod. Something clearly wasn’t right and the piece of paper held the answers.
Mary didn’t want to read the note while she was at work. But the entire day she couldn’t help but look down at her handbag where it was.
Questions raced through her mind. As soon as she got home after work she put her things down and pulled out the piece of paper. But what was written on it would turn her world upside down.
She felt her hands shake as she looked at the note in her hand. What could he have written inside a scrap of paper before handing it to her?
She had only been nice to him, were there things he was hiding that he couldn’t say out loud? Was he being watched?
It turns out that the homeless man was actually Richard Gere! The note explained that he was shooting his new movie and that’s why he was dressed up as a homeless person.
She had no idea that the sweet man she walked past every day and even offered food was worth millions!
Gere was actually on set being filmed for his role as a homeless man that’s trying to fix his relationship with his daughter. The movie is called Time Out of Mind and is an American Drama.
His get-up must have been very convincing if it fooled Mary and probably many other New Yorkers.
Mary went back to visit Gere after realizing who he really was. She understood that he couldn’t talk much to her because they must have been filming him for the movie. It was now obvious that he didn’t want to waste her precious food on him when he already had so much money.
She just smiled at him and to tell her he knew she knew she gave her a wink back. He had fooled many New Yorkers, but he let her in on the secret because of her kindness.
Mary felt touched and took it to heart. She knew that no one else would have an experience like that, especially with such a well-known actor! And on the set of his movie as well!
She would still see him every time she walked to walk until one day he was gone. Presumably, they had gotten enough shots. She still thinks of him when she walks past that corner every day, with a smile on her face.