Late Millionaire Leaves Son Only Old Sewing Machine, Calling It ‘Biggest Treasure He Had’ – Story of the Day

Manuela Cardiga
Apr 23, 2022
03:00 A.M.
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A millionaire's son is expecting to inherit a huge fortune when his father passes away, but to his surprise, all he receives is a very old sewing machine.


David Ballesteros stared at the lawyer. He couldn't believe his ears. "Excuse me," he said politely. "Could you please repeat what you just said?" 

The lawyer adjusted his wire-framed glasses on the bridge of his nose and cleared his throat. "To my beloved son David, I leave the 1923 Singer sewing machine that once belonged to my great-grandmother and which I consider my greatest treasure."

David was stunned when he saw his inheritance. | Source:


"That's very nice," David said. "But what else? What about the money? The real estate? The assets? What does it all amount to?"

The lawyer, Mr. Jarvin, sighed and put down the will. "I'm sorry, David, I thought your father had explained the terms of the will before he died."

"Well," David said. "He just told me he'd be passing on his riches, but he never specified the amount -- that's what I'm trying to find out!"

Mr. Jarvin said carefully, "There is nothing, David, no money at all."

"That's impossible!" David screamed. "My father owned clothing factories all over the United States, he was RICH!"


When David's father died, he expected to inherit a fortune. | Source: Pexels

"Under the terms of your father's will," Mr. Jarvin explained, "all his assets were liquidated at the time of his death and donated to charity."


"NO!" cried David angrily. "He wouldn't do that to me! I'll contest the will..."

"You can," Mr, Jarvin said gently. "You'd be within your rights. But I must warn you, it is quite useless -- you'll just be spending money you don't have on lawyers."

David got up. He was reeling as if from a punch. He'd lived a life of privilege and now he was left with nothing but an old sewing machine! "David," Mr. Jarvin said. "Your father left you a letter which may explain his decision..."

Mr. Jarvin explained that David was getting nothing except the sewing machine. | Source: Pexels


David grabbed the envelope. "His decision was to leave me a pauper! What kind of explanation could he possibly have for that!" He walked out and drove back to his apartment just in time to see a U-Haul van pull up.

"Mr. David Ballesteros?" asked the man from the van. 

"Yes," David said.

"We have a delivery for you, sir." He gestured to where an old elaborate sewing machine sat on the curb. "Where would you like it?"

"He wouldn't do that to me! I'll contest the will..." | Source: Pexels


David was about to scream 'In the trash!' but it occurred to him that the old monstrosity might actually be worth some money, so he sullenly ordered the man to take it up to his apartment. 

After the man left, David poured himself a drink and stared at the sewing machine. "I have an MBA, I'm prepared to run corporations. What am I supposed to do with a sewing machine, dad?" he asked aloud.

Our greatest legacy is our work ethic and our roots.

Then he remembered the letter. He took the envelope out of his pocket and opened it. "My dearest David," he read. "I want you to know that I love you above all things in this life and that I would give everything to make you happy.


"I can imagine that at this moment you are angry with me because of the money -- but believe me when I tell you that it would be a burden to you. Yes, it would make your life easier, but you would live it under the shadow of my achievements.

David's father left him a letter. | Source: Unsplash


"When my grandmother came to this country during the Spanish Civil war, she was alone. Her husband had died fighting, but she carried in her belly my father, your grandfather.

"She didn't know what to do, so she borrowed money from the richest man in the neighborhood to buy a sewing machine so she could earn some money making clothes and doing repairs.

"She worked so hard she paid him back within the year and became the most sought-after dressmaker in the city. But what no one knew was that she took all the scraps of fabrics leftover from her customer's clothes and made clothes for the poor. No one who came to her house ever left it hungry or ragged.


"Ten years later, she had a factory making expensive fashionable clothes. She hired poor women from the neighborhood to work with her and paid them good wages so they could live with dignity. And she was still using every scrap of fabric leftover to make clothes for the poor, and for the local orphanage.

"She worked so hard she paid him back within the year." | Source: Unsplash


"Your great-grandmother raised my father and sent him to college. But when she died, he inherited nothing except the sewing machine -- the very first sewing machine. He built his fortune on that sewing machine, David, and he gave me a good life and a good education.

"When he died, I discovered that the sewing machine and the work ethic that had built two fortunes on the concept of fairness and charity were my inheritance. I pass on that legacy to you.

"You are free to reinvent yourself, my son, to choose your own path, live your own adventure without being held back by what I did or didn't do. I leave you this precious sewing machine that has been the basis of three fortunes.


David's great-grandmother made clothes for the poor in her factories. | Source: Unsplash

"I know that in your hands it will continue to be a treasure, the seed of the great success that you will of your life."


When David put down the letter he had tears in his eyes. He ran a loving hand over the black sewing machine and smiled. "I can do anything," he said. "All I need is hard work and imagination!"

David, who was a keen surfer, started thinking about how boring some of the surfboard covers he'd seen were. The next day, he took one apart to see how it was made. Then he took some of his old jeans and he made a new cover.

It was the beginning of what would soon be an exciting best-selling international brand of surfwear made only with reconditioned jeans! Years later, David was invited to set up an exhibit at the MET, and at the very center of it all was his greatest treasure: his great-grandmother's sewing machine.


David continued his family's legacy. | Source: Unsplash

What can we learn from this story?

  • There is more to life than having money. Wealth acquired at the cost of others and without giving back ends up poisoning the lives it touches.
  • Our greatest legacy is our work ethic and our roots. David inherited a rich history of honesty, kindness, and self-sacrifice and that led to all the riches he'd ever need.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who receives a priceless legacy from his wise grandmother but only realizes its worth when his life falls apart and he loses everything he's ever worked for.

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