When i was a young boy,i knew and loved a man who was notoriously stingy with his money.
He was often inconsiderate of others.
Although he managed to make quite a lot of money,he never did thoughtful things for other people nor did he sacrifice himself too devotedly on community projects.
Yet when he died many years later,the whole village wept.
Everybody adored him,and no one quite seemed to know why.
Everyone missed him.
They still miss him.
As for me,and at that young age,his best contribution to my life was his juicy,succulent,sweet and almost rotting mangoes that he used to dole out to us boys on our way back from school.
He had a big farm and grew mangoes for sale.
After grading them for the market,he would give us the over-ripe mangoes that he couldn’t otherwise sell,maybe as a bribe so that we won’t be tempted to sneak on his farm and steal some.
He lived alone.
I have no recollection of knowing any of his relatives.
Many years later after he died,it came to be known that he was a secret sponsor of our local catholic church.
He sponsored many orphans through the church by secretly paying their school fees.
I was one of his beneficiaries,but i didn’t know it then.
But he never helped people financially in any direct way like lending them money.
He would casually suggest that people get in touch with the local catholic priest and see whether he can help them out.
Of course he knew in himself that he had set up a fund for this purpose with the local priest,but he didn’t want to take personal credit for bailing out people directly from his pocket.
Looking back,i think this goodness of heart radiated itself on people even when they didn’t exactly know what it was in him that pleased them.
On the face of it,people saw him as miser,but there was something that drew them to love him all the same without knowing why.
Needless to say that,without having any known relations,he willed all his estate to this fund through the church when he died.
The goodness that you do,though secretly,radiates into other people’s life even when they don’t know why.
I learnt from my “generous” village miser!