*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
My grandfather was the nicest man who has ever lived in my opinion, and I was devastated when he died a few years ago. I didn’t grow up with a father for the first ten years of my life, so my grandfather was my father figure and my mom and I even lived with him and my grandmother for a lot of my childhood.
I won’t lie, my grandfather spoiled me from when I was a child up until the month he died. I always felt like I was his favorite grandchild, but he did everything he could for his other grandkids, too, even if they lived far away.
My cousin Matt and his parents lived about four hours away from us, so Matt wasn’t quite as spoiled as I was, but my grandfather did what he could to make Matt feel just as special. When we grew up though, Matt became the type of guy who refused handouts from anyone and would always send back my grandfather’s generous checks uncashed. Even when he was younger, Matt was a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” guy, and he showed it.
After high school, Matt went to a community college to save money by living at home with his parents, a very practical thing to do. About a year into college, though, his car broke down and Matt didn’t have enough money to replace it because he’d been in school full time and not working. For some reason, Matt took the very first job he was offered - a cashier at a fast food restaurant, working the drive-thru window.
My grandfather, who had wanted to help put Matt through college, was horrified that he was giving up his education to work a menial job only to be able to afford a cheap used car before going back to school.
He pleaded with Matt to let him help out but Matt refused - but my grandfather wouldn’t take no for an answer. My grandpa drove four hours to the fast food restaurant where Matt worked and asked for the manager, where he proceeded to tell the manager a bunch of ridiculous lies like Matt was a thief and a drug addict, and couldn’t be trusted with a register.
He was so convincing, that when Matt showed up for his next shift, he noticed that he was no longer on the schedule. When he asked his boss what was going on, his boss just lied and said he was sorry, that Matt was the last one hired and they needed to do some laying off, and it was just bad luck for him.
The next week, a used car appeared in Matt’s parent’s driveway - a gift from my grandfather that he absolutely refused to take back.
“You’re going back to college,” my grandfather demanded of Matt, and so finally, he accepted my grandfather’s generosity and went back to school.
Would you have taken your grandfather’s gift - and behavior?
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