Sometimes it is people who have known what it is to have nothing who are more inclined to be generous than most. And they are also, understandably more prudent in handling their finances. The story of a homeless person named Wayne D. Johnson, who won a $100,000 lottery jackpot in 2008 proved that.
Johnson had been living virtually on the streets and off the support of the House of Bread shelter in Hartford. To earn some money he would often go out after dark looking for bottles, cans, coins, and everything that could be converted to money, including the occasional lottery ticket or two.
But one day God smiled on him and he found a bunch of lottery tickets folded in half, and a machine told him one of them was worth $100,000. So with the help of Sisters in the House of Bread Shelter, he collected $70,000 after taxes and promptly opened a bank account. And this is where the story gets even more interesting.
Out of his $70,000 Johnson “gave back” $5,000 to the shelter and set up a $50,000 fund for the order of the Sisters who operated it. He continued living in the shelter, getting free haircuts, and even began to work there as a volunteer.
His only “splurge” went to buying a portable oxygen machine when he got sick, and spending for dialysis treatments. He died from his illness in 2012, with the shelter as his beneficiary for whatever remained of his money. Though long estranged from his family, he had turned his life around prior to his death that he had a very well attended funeral.
To me, Wayne Johnson is a true winner. While the lottery may have provided him the means to repay the kindness of people at the shelter, the nuns and priests there may have had a big hand in leading him to the true treasure: a life lived for others.