Sam Evans found a painting in the trash and sold it to the local thrift shop for a few bucks. The owner discovered it was worth more money and sold it to renovate his store. Then he changed his mind.
Randall Page owned a tiny thrift store in Orlando, Florida. It wasn’t the biggest or the best, but he was able to pay the bills. He dreamed of expanding it and attracting more people, but he didn’t have the money just yet.
One day, a smelly homeless man entered the store with a big painting in his hands. The girl he hired to work at the front desk was scared to talk to him, so he went up to the man himself. “Hello, sir. May I help you?” he asked warily.
A homeless man discovered a painting in the trash and sold it to Randall. | Source: Shutterstock
“Hello, yes. My name is Sam Evans. I found this nice painting in the trash. I was wondering if I could sell it. How much could I get for it?” the man said.
Randall looked at the painting, and it was pretty nice. But it didn’t ring any bells. “I can give you $20 for it,” he answered.
“That’s great. Thank you!” Sam hollered. Randall gave him the money and rushed the homeless man out of his store. He didn’t want him scaring his other customers. Then he placed the painting on display on the shelf and continued his day.
However, Randall couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was pretty nice. He wondered why the original owners had thrown it in the trash at all. Maybe, I should investigate it a little more, he thought.
Randall couldn't get the painting off his mind. | Source: Pexels
A few days went by, and Randall couldn’t get the painting out of his mind. So he went online and uploaded a picture on an art forum, hoping someone would recognize it. One stranger responded and said it looked like the Sympathy of Perseverance by Eric Cooper.
Randall dug deeper and discovered that Cooper’s paintings had become a sensation after his death decades ago. But the stranger in the art forum said that it was most likely a reproduction of the original work.
Regardless, it could still be worth a decent chunk of money. Luckily, Randall had connections with an art appraiser in town, Drew Clemons. He called and asked him to come to his store.
“What do you think, Clemons? Is it worth anything?” Randall questioned his friend.
His friend Drew said it was worth way more than $20. | Source: Pexels
“Actually, I think it might be. This signature looks similar to Emory Ryan’s, a protégé of Cooper. It’s uncanny,” Drew replied as he looked at the painting with a magnifying glass.
“So, it’s definitely not original?” Randall wondered.
“Of course not. Eric Cooper’s works were all sold to the highest bidder, and no buyer would have just thrown those expensive paintings in the trash. This is a lucky find, my friend,” Drew explained.
He also told Randall that the painting was worth between $2,500 and $5,000. So Randall posted the artwork on eBay and with all the details he knew about it. He didn’t expect to find a buyer so soon, but someone took interest.
Randall sold the painting for $4,995 and was ecstatic. He would finally be able to make some improvements to his store and hopefully expand in the future. But as he was walking by his store, he saw a homeless woman asking for money.
Randall found Sam and offered him help. | Source: Pexels
As he gave the woman some extra cash, he thought about the dirty man who sold him the painting. Randall knew he didn’t owe him anything because he agreed to sell the painting for $20, but then he started to feel guilty.
That man had nothing, and he sold the painting for a significant amount of money. It’s not fair. I have to find him, Randall thought. So, he set out to find the man by asking some of the other homeless people in the area if they had seen him.
One old lady said that Sam Evans usually dumpster-dived after hours at the local supermarket. Randall went to find him at closing time, and he was right there. “Sam Evans?” he asked warily.
“Yes? Do I know you?” Sam wondered, squinting his eyes.
“Yes, I’m the thrift shop owner you sold a painting to a few weeks ago. Can we talk?” Randall revealed.
“Of course. Thank you for buying, man. I hadn’t eaten that day, and those $20 came in handy,” Sam added.
He explained that the painting was worth a lot more than they thought. | Source: Pexels
“Come with me to my store, and I’ll explain,” Randall insisted. Sam agreed, and they got in his car. When they arrived, he served Sam some tea and got to know him a little bit.
Then he explained what happened with his painting. “Oh, man. That’s fantastic for you. There goes to show that you should never underestimate artwork, huh?” Sam quipped, amused.
“You’re not going to ask for any of that money?” Randall questioned.
“Of course not. It’s your painting. You bought it from me fair and square. It’s just the way the world works,” Sam stated. Randall couldn’t believe the man’s words. Any other person would have demanded some of that money.
So he started asking Sam more questions and Sam revealed he lost his job during the market crash a decade ago and couldn’t pay his mortgage. He didn’t have any family to help him out and lost everything.
Randall rented him an apartment. | Source: Unsplash
“It’s not easy, man. Once you fall into that cycle, it’s hard to get out. The whole system is against you, and no one wants to hire you,” Sam went on.
“Don’t worry, Sam. I’m going to help you,” Randall assured him.
Randall decided to use the money he earned from the painting to rent a small apartment for Sam and gave him the rest. Once there, he talked to some of his friends and got him a job at the local Target.
Sam was not used to working for a big company after many years on the streets, but he couldn’t waste this opportunity. He saved up for a better place a few months later, and his life was significantly better.
One day, they were having tea at the thrift shop again, and Sam had to ask, “Why did you help me? You didn’t have to,” he wondered.
Sam was able to break the cycle and start his life anew. | Source: Pexels
“You said that back then too. I know I didn’t have to, but using that money on me didn’t seem like the right thing to do,” Randall explained. “And I’m so glad you were able to turn your life around with it. I have no regrets.”
A few months later, Randall asked the bank for a loan to expand his business, and it was approved. He thrived and paid it off as soon as possible. Sam became one of his closest friends, and Randall was convinced that good things happen to good people.
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