grocery cart traveling down an isle

Rich Old Man Dresses as Homeless and Visits Huge Grocery Store to Determine His Heir

Often being kind pays off. Maybe not right away, but if you are kind to others, eventually you will likely see some sort of return on your investment. This story from AmoMama reminds us of just that. We should look past outward “flaws” to find the good in others and choose kindness over all else. This is just what happened to this wealthy grocery store owner and his employee.

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Wealthy Grocery Store Owner Dresses Up As Homeless Man To Find An Heir To His Fortune

Mr. Larry Hutchins was an orphan who didn’t have family to support him throughout his life. As an adult, he moved to Texas with next to nothing. He worked hard – harder than most – and eventually found success. He became the owner of Texas’ largest grocery store. Unfortunately, that didn’t leave him with much time for dating. At 90 years old, he found himself single and without any children.

He knew that at his age, every year was a blessing. He also knew that he had booked more time than he had left. After all, at 90, you never know when it might be your turn to go. Mr. Hutchins’ only issue was that he had amassed all this wealth and had no one to pass it on to. As an orphan, he had no siblings to speak of and therefore no nieces or nephews. Any distant family he might have had never wanted to be a part of his life

He wasn’t interested in giving his fortune to a charity because he’d rather leave it to someone he knew and who would truly appreciate it. Yes, he could give it to a friend, but this was also tricky. As he worked his way to the top of the grocery store market, he realized that in business you tend to have more foes than you do friends. On top of that, most of his “friends” were in the same circle and didn’t really need to be handed millions more.

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No Help From The Lawyer

Mr. Hutchens reached out to his lawyer to see if he could help him solve the problem. Again, his lawyer questioned him on distant relatives. Hutchens explained his story and said that he didn’t want to hand over his fortune based on blood relations. He wanted it to go to someone who understood its meaning. Someone who needed it and deserved it. His lawyer promised him to think it over and get back to him, but Hutchens wanted answers sooner. That’s when he devised a plan.

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Putting The People To The Test

After thinking over his problem for several hours one night, he suddenly had a thought. 

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“What if I put my employees to the test?” he wondered. “I mean, there may be someone out there who, like me, understands how the fruits of one’s hard work feel.”

The next day, he got dressed up. Not in a fancy way, however, but rather, in a way that makes him look the complete opposite. He donned his oldest clothing, a fake beard, and bought a cane as a prop. He then headed to the grocery store – his grocery store  – to see how his employees would react.

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First Reactions: Bad

The minute disguised Mr. Hutchins walked into the store, he was met with confrontation and hostility. The cashier, Lincy, shouted at him and told him to go away. She said that “people like him” weren’t allowed in the store.

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“But ma’am, I’m just here for some food. I haven’t eaten in days. I need your help,” Mr. Hutchins pleaded with her.

She did not care. Lincy told him that he didn’t belong or deserve to be in the store. She said he should be out begging on the streets. Mr. Hutchins was quite disappointed in his employees. He thought perhaps he’d have better luck with his customers

He decided to next walk along the food shelves. Perhaps one of the customers in the line would be kind. Unfortunately, he was met with animosity there, as well.

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“Who the hell let this man in here?” yelled a woman in the line. “Wait, don’t get too close. You smell like garbage meat!”

From there, another customer jumped in, exclaiming his disgust. This then created a scene, as a saleswoman came chagrin over demanding that he leave the store. Soon, more people started chiming in, including a man who was a regular customer at the grocery store. He said that if Mr. Hutchins wasn’t immediately removed, he would never come back. The customers also demanded that the security guards at the door receive better training so as to not let people like Mr. Hutchins in. 

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One Last Hope

Disappointed in both his employees and customers, Mr. Hutchins prepared to leave. That’s when his 25-year-old store administrator Lewis stepped in. He called out telling the swarming crowd to get away from Mr. Hutchins. The rest of the staff explained to Lewis that Mr. Hutchins would not tolerate homeless people in the store. Lewis, however, knew that this was not the case.

Unlike the rest of the employees or customers, Lewis understood what it was like to go through tough times. He had to drop out of college because of financial problems. It was then that he came to the grocery store and asked Mr. Hutchins for a job. He had nothing – not even a place to stay. Mr. Hutchins not only gave him a job but also paid for a small apartment for him until he got on his feet. Lewis says the day Mr. Hutchins hired him was the day he realized the true importance of being kind to others.

Lewis apologized to the disguised Mr. Hutchins for his staff’s rude behavior and took him shopping. The two went around the store, filling up a basket with some groceries. Lewis paid the bill and handed Mr. Hutchins the groceries. When Mr. Hutchins asked him why he did it, Lewis recounted the story that, of course, Mr. Hutchins already knew.

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The Heir To The Fortune

At that moment, Mr. Hutchins knew that he had found the heir to his grocery store kingdom. He left the store with the secret tucked away in his mind. He went home and the first thing he did was have his will changed to reflect the new situation.

Seven years later, Mr. Hutchins passed on. Soon after, Lewis received a call from Mr. Hutchins’ lawyer. He explained to the now 32-year-old man that Mr. Hutchins had left him everything. The will also include a short letter from the grocery store mogul. In the letter, Mr. Hutchins explained the disguise and how Lewis’ kindness proved that he was the only one deserving of Mr. Hutchins’ fortune. 

All those years ago, when Mr. Hutchins chose to show kindness to Lewis, he benefited by getting a hard-working, loyal, and kind employee. When Lewis unknowingly returned the favor, he later benefited in a way that most of us can only dream of. Big or small, it always pays to be kind.

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Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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