I joined the table and began to listen to the conversation. At first I wasn’t sure if the fellow was “all there”, and I was hoping that he’d finish up his coffee and leave soon, but that was not to be, and what he had to say surprised me.
“You see that car outside? The grey one on the far right? That’s my car.” He was pointing to a Cadillac. “I am like Trump” he said.
The fellow went on to explain that his last name is Hope, and the Hope Side Road in Kanata is named after his family. “I sold my property and made a lot of money.” He said, not in a boastful way, but in a rather matter of fact way. He grumbled quite a bit about paying the government $750,000 in income tax. He seemed to be intent on telling us all about himself. At first I listened to be polite, but as he spoke I became more and more interested.
“I bailed eight friends out of financial troubles, and ended up losing all eight friends” he said. “Now, when someone asks me for money, I have one answer, it’s no!” He seemed quite proud of this, he went on to explain “I may lose the friend, but at least I keep the money!” He explained, chuckling.
Mr. Hope never married. He wanted to know if Karen or I were married, we both nodded yes. “How many times have you been married?” He enquired. “Just once.” We both replied. “If you find a good man, keep him!” He said. I was trying to hear what all he was saying, but he was on my deaf side, and he grumbled something about “there are a lot of bad men and women out there who are single. Stay married if you have a good husband.”
Mr. Hope rhymed off a bunch of jokes non-stop, which was rather amusing. “Pat told his friend John that he wanted to be be buried with all of his money stuffed in his casket, John decided that was too risky so he put the money in the bank and just wrote Pat a check….”
Mr. Hope wanted us to know that not only was he really rich, but he was a looker back in the day. He said “people don’t like anything that you have up on them.” He said. “Sounds pretty shallow” I said. “A lot of people are like that.” According to Mr. Hope.
At some point, Karen and I had given up on the prospect of having our own conversation, and Mr. Hope clearly wanted some company, in fact he demanded it. He told us that he had made about $43 million dollars over the years, and he still has $30 million. Since he never married and didn’t have any children, and he wasn’t bailing anyone out, I decided to find out a bit more. “You have a boatload of money, what do you plan to do with it when you pass away?” I asked. “I will give my nieces and nephews $30,000 per year for ten years.” He said. “I am giving 1/3 to the church, 1/3 to the Queensway Carleton Cancer Centre, and 1/3 to….” I didn’t hear where the final third was going. However, I was relieved to hear about the charitable donations. “I am happy that you are giving back to the community.” I told him.
We left Tim’s and talked about our encounter with Mr. Hope the whole way home. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want unlimited funds? Who doesn’t want good looks? And yet, he has ended up alone, and he spends his time talking about the money he lost paying income tax. “If you paid that much, you must have made a bundle.” I commented. “You figured that out!” He seemed surprised.
If I had $30 million bucks in the bank, I can tell you one thing, the fun factor in my life as well as my friends and family would go up, way up.
I would do good things for people, with no strings attached. After all, you can’t take it with you.