An elderly man living alone was generally a quiet person, but his younger neighbor realized the man was lonely. His family never seemed to visit or have time to help him. The neighbor offered to help the older man with some household chores, and would spend time with him and listen to the old man's stories. After the older man died, his family finally showed, and they were mad.
Daniel Sharp was saddened to hear about the passing of his 75-year-old neighbor, Ronald Butcher According to Sharp, he and Butcher became friends when Butcher asked him for help in cleaning his gutters. Sharp, a builder, was able to do the job with ease, and wouldn't accept payment from his elderly neighbor.
After that, Sharp and Butcher would occasionally spend some time together. Sharp would sometimes help the old man with other chores, but more often he'd just keep his lonely neighbor company. Butcher seemed very happy to have a friend and regaled Sharp with his life stories.
Sharp didn't see Butcher for a while, and wondered what became of the older man. It turned out Butcher passed away in his home. No family members had come to check on him, and it was two months before his body was found.
When Sharp got the news of Butcher's death, he felt sad, but was shocked to discover the older man was wealthier than he seemed. Sharp was even more shocked to learn Butcher left him his fortune in his will-- approximately $600,000.
"I can't say the reason why he gave it to me," Sharp said. "But if I'm the only one who went round to talk to him... I didn't know what's gone on with the others.... Obviously there's been a big falling out."
Butcher's family is tried to have a court overturn the will. They're baffled about their relative leaving his money to a neighbor rather than his family. To the judge, it was clear: Sharp's friendship meant a lot to Butcher, who was in sound mind, and the family barely gave the elderly man the time of day. He upheld the will.
Photo: Telegraph, Champion News/Richard Gittins