The Story of Sammy

As I’ve mentioned, we’re cleaning out my mother-in-law’s house.   She was a hoarder who passed away a couple of months ago.   As of yesterday, we’ve filled two 30-yard dumpsters.   For perspective, that’s big enough to park our F150.

I’m not here to talk about that, or the 20 year old can of green beans that burst and ran down my leg on Saturday.

Last month, we put a recliner out on the curb with a free sign.   A few minutes later, a couple of guys stopped by and grabbed it.

Last week, one of the guys–I’ll call him Sammy–stopped by and left a note on the windshield of one of our inherited cars, asking about buying it.

Long story short, we sold him two cars.  One hadn’t been run in a year or two, and one had been parked for almost 20 years.   We signed this titles and let him take the cars while he was still $50 short of the purchase price.  This isn’t a story about the cars.

It’s a story about Sammy.

Sammy doesn’t have a lot of money.   He’s living off of a monthly check from an old injury, and his fiancee works part-time.   They’re living in Section 8 housing, and consistently have more month than money.  When he was younger, he made some decisions that make some forms of employment difficult now.

On Friday, Sammy stopped by.  He was supposed to give us $50, but said that getting one of the cars running had cost more than expected, and it still had a problem that was keeping it from being safe on the road.   He asked about an extension.

No problem.

Then, he looked around my mother-in-law’s overgrown yard and asked if he could help.  After we negotiated the price, he asked if he could a) borrow our tools for the work, and b) get a ride Saturday morning.

I am a nice guy.

Saturday, I was planning to pick him up, then drive downtown to pick up a friend who has been living at the Salvation Army since moving to the area.   His friend was so excited about the work, he hopped on a bus at 6am and got to Sammy’s house.

When I got there, Sammy also had a teenager he was mentoring.   He told me that his dream was to start a lawn-care business with his friend, so they can put kids to work and help them turn into productive citizens.   Idle, broke, and bored teenagers are a recipe for disaster.   Teenagers who grow into men not believing they have a chance to change their future are worse.

I dropped them off and went to have a chat with my wife.

We’re far from rich but, at the moment, we are fairly flush.  We’ve found some cash, and a there is a bit of life insurance money.   Most of that will be going into remodeling the house, but we have a bit extra.   If we can take a few hundred dollars, and help launch Sammy into a business that will help him, his family, and a circle of kids with few prospects, I think it’s the right thing to do.

When I told Sammy what we were considering, he started to break down.   It was a truly emotional experience for him to know that somebody was willing to take a chance on him.

I told him to put together plan.  I want to know what it would take for him to get started.  Hopefully, he’s serious enough to do that.   I’d like to help.

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    1. That’s awesome. I hope to hear follow up stories and hopefully with great news!

    2. Great story. Perhaps you can impart some advise to him how you keep your finances together so that he can learn from you and turn this into a thriving business. I would recommend you ask to sit on the financial board of the company. I know there is no board but basically you would have input on his finances and therefore you could probably help him a lot more with advise than with straight cash.

    3. Great story — this is why having a little extra is great because you can give what you think is a small amount to someone who knows it’s the world.

    4. That’s awesome that you’re willing to help him start out! Just be fully prepared to never see the money again just in case it doesn’t work out. Hopefully he can keep at it and turn it into a true business!

    5. I love this story SO much, and I love that you’re willing to take a chance and help someone who sounds like he could really use it. The fact that he offered to work in the yard when he couldn’t pay on time tells me that he’s not a scammer – of course there are no guarantees, but I think you’ve spent wisely. If he needs a website, let me know and I’ll design one for him for free.

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