I keep telling myself I'll share reader e-mail more often. You folks send me great stuff. For example, here's Ruth's story about her own millionaire next door.
I loved reading about J.D.'s “secret millionaire” neighbor. This is a story about my own “secret millionaire” neighbor. He actually lives in the next suburb.
This local middle-school math teacher retired about five years ago, and became a private tutor. Since retirement, he works seven days a week — literally. By choice. He is a widower, with three adult kids.
Anyway, he had an old wreck of a car ever since I've known him (about eight years). He tutored my oldest son very occasionally and my daughter and middle son very regularly. One day last year, he warned me that he didn't know if he could make my daughter's Tuesday appointment, because he wasn't sure if his car would make it up the hill. “No problem,” I told him. “If it doesn't, just call me and I'll pick you up.” He apologized and told me that he was due to pick up his brand new car that Friday.
His car did make it. (Sorry, can't remember what it was. A French car, I think a Peugeot. It was my youngest son's age — 20 years old at the time.) The following Tuesday, this man showed up proud as punch with a brand new Ford Fiesta — in bright purple!
I'm guessing that a retired teacher in his late sixties didn't actually choose a bright purple car! He must have gotten a great deal on it.
He also has a small house on what has now become a main road, with four- and five-story buildings on either side of him. The developers have been trying to buy him out for many years. He told me that whenever they call, he pretends to be deaf. He's a hoot. And definitely pretty much the epitome of the “secret millionaire”.
This man stopped tutoring my daughter only about two weeks ago. After so many years, we were both tearful. I still see him around town all the time, and we always wave to each other or honk. In private, my family calls his car “The Mathmobile”. One day I suddenly realized how much I'd probably contributed to that new car over the years. But that's beside the point! I hope he enjoys his car, and that my community continues to enjoy him for many years to come.
This is a fun story. I know that some readers think it's crazy to accumulate wealth but still drive a beat-up old car. But I think that as long as Ruth's neighbor is happy, that's all that matters.