*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*
When I was younger I collected Trolls and Beanie Babies, but I wasn’t a smart collector. I liked to actually play with my Trolls and cuddle with my Beanie Babies, so the tags and packing were always removed, and my toys were always well loved.
It blew my mind when I got older and was made aware how much some Beanie Babies were worth as collectables in pristine condition with the tags still on. Some were selling for hundreds and even thousands of dollars, and there I was, Beanie Baby-less, because I had grown up and grown out of my toys and given them away years ago.
My friend Chad not so much. I’ve known Chad for most of my life and even when we were younger he was a big collector of things. He collected baseball cards and little Hot Wheels cars particularly, and unlike me he kept them in their respective sleeves and boxes, retaining their value. Chad said that his grandfather was the one who taught him about the value of collecting, he who had a very extensive coin collection that was worth tens of thousands and was to be partly Chad’s inheritance.
We grew up, and Chad kept collecting. Not as much as he used to, but every once in a while he would tell me that he’d found a valuable Hot Wheels cheap on eBay and was excited about his purchase.
Then, after high school, Chad made the choice to join the Marines. He wasn’t planning on staying in and making a career of it, but he wanted the chance at free college, the only way the thought he’d get a higher education.
Sadly, his grandfather had passed a few years before this and his grandmother was living alone in their big old house. When it was getting to be time for Chad to ship out for basic training, he humbly asked his grandmother if she would let him store his collectables in her attic where they would be safe for a few years while he was away. She agreed to let him do this, and as she was still very spry for her age, even helped him carry some of the boxes upstairs.
Years went by and Chad’s tour of duty came to an end. He came home, went to college and double majored in business and engineering before opening his own contracting company. But before all that good stuff happened, there was one unfortunate event.
Chad showed up at his grandmother’s house one day with a rented van for all of his boxes of collectables and knocked on her door. She was thrilled to see Chad, and they caught up over tea and cookies while he told her stories of his time away. Then he stood up and said,
“Well, I guess I’m going to start getting that stuff out of your attic.”
Chad’s grandmother waived her hand in the air.
“Oh, honey, you’re too old for those toys, I donated them to the church years ago so other children could enjoy them.”
Chad’s jaw dropped and his heart might have stopped.
“Grandma,” he choked. “That was my retirement. Those toys, those were valuable collectables, I was going to sell them and be able to retire with that money,” he wailed, falling to the floor in a heap.
Of course he was furious with his grandmother, but how could he show her that? An innocent little old woman, thinking she was doing the nice, right thing for the children of her church.
That was the last Chad brought it up, because what was the point in being cruel to her? He just never entrusted her with anything of value to him again.
How would you have reacted?
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