An Iowa couple landed in a real life dream. When they woke up, they were $100,000 richer.
In a story that sounds like the plot of a TV movie–or something out of the old TV series, “The Millionaire”, an Iowa couple was handed a check for $100,000 by a complete stranger–under the condition they not reveal who he was.
In the old “Millionaire” series, which aired on CBS from January 19, 1955 to June 8, 1960, a man–who was never seen on-camera–gave away extremely large checks to people every week. The one condition: that the source of the money could never be revealed.
The Millionaire was John Beresford Tipton, a semi-retired industrialist and shown obscured by one of his high-backed leather chairs, viewers seeing only his right arm as he reached for a cashier’s check for one million dollars, each week, and handed it to his executive secretary, a mild-mannered, good-humoured, but no-nonsense man named Michael Anthony.
It was Anthony’s job to travel and deliver that check to its intended recipient, staying only long enough to present the gift and then, customarily, leaving the recipient’s life forever.
For a couple named Alissa and Barry, it was the beginning of a dream-come-true as they ate last Thursday at Dr. Salami’s Cafe in Pella, Iowa.
“He basically just came into the restaurant and just came in and started talking to us,” Barry said in an exclusive interview on “Good Morning America” today. He was most interested in whether they had any children, Barry said.
After they replied that Alissa did indeed have a 2-year-old child, the man slid a check across the table and asked the couple to fill out the check with any amount they wished. The two assumed he was joking and made the check out for $100,000.
The benefactor signed the check and said, “I’m good for it,” Alissa said. The next day Alissa and Barry were unsure of what they were going to do with the check.
“We’re either going to throw it away or try it. Let’s give it a whirl,” Barry said. “[We] really didn’t think it was going to happen. It’s too rare for something like that to happen.”
Alyssa and Barry endorsed the check, decided to cash it and were stunned when the check actually cleared and they received a $100,000 in cash–a real-life dream gift of a lifetime.
In another twist that could have come from a “1001 Arabian Nights” or “Grimm’s Fairy Tales”, there were four conditions to their keeping the money.
1 They were not allowed to reveal their last names.
2 They were not allowed to reveal the man who gave them the money.
3 They had to use the cash to buy or build a house.
4 If they had another child together, they must name the child after their benefactor.
But Alissa and Barry were able to reveal a little about their newly-discovered friend.
[H}e is in his late 50s and said he was just passing through Pella on his way to Des Moines and had stopped to get gas. He also said he had done this before. One thing he liked to do, he told Alissa and Barry, was to wait outside a Wal-Mart and buy carts full of groceries for people. And he once bought someone a car, he claimed.
The man told them that he regretted that he had never had grandchildren, which was why he asked them to name their next child after him, Alissa and Barry said.
The couple said they will honor his request about the name. Alissa, whose birthday is today, said she hasn’t decided whether she and her boyfriend will buy or build a house because they are still dealing with all that’s happened.
“It’s been a pretty stressful week — too much time to think about details,” Alissa said.
The stranger wound up his visit with Alissa and Barry by tipping the waitress $100.
“I hope no one finds out who he is because that is the way he wanted it. He is just a nice guy,” the waitress said. “You never know who is sitting next to. You never when you when you can make a difference in someone else’s life.”
This story has demonstrated three things to us.
Sometimes, life imitates art.
Sometimes, not all of the news of the world today is bad.
Sometimes, strangers who offer blank checks are not crazy.