The Maintenance Man and a Mandolin

Senior man playing mandolinOn my way into the office this morning I heard a story on the radio. A man with a strong southern drawl called in. (It is a nationally syndicated show – no southern drawl here in northern Illinois).

He said he did maintenance work, and a lady he knew asked him to do some work on her home. He did the work, and when he finished, he told her the cost was $60 even. She asked if she could pay him by the end of the week, and he agreed.

She called him a few days later and apologized. She said she just did not have the money to pay him and asked if he would take her husband’s mandolin instead of cash. She was obviously sincere so he took it.

He did not know how to play the mandolin so he took it to someone he knew and offered to sell it. The other gentleman got very excited and said he would definitely like to buy it. The maintenance man said, “Just give me a fair offer”; and the other man said, “I’ll buy for it $2000!”

The maintenance man decided to go back to visit the woman who gave the mandolin it to him to tell her that he sold it. He hoped she would not be upset because it had been her husband’s.

When he arrived at her house, he told her that he sold it. She only asked, “Were you able to get your $60 for it?” With that, the man handed her an envelope. When she opened, her eyes welled up with tears, and she began to sob.

When she composed herself, she explained that her husband had passed away, and the reason she did not have the money to pay him for the work he did was because she still owed money on her husband’s funeral which she had been paying a little bit at a time.

She asked him to wait right there at her front door while she went inside. She returned with the latest invoice from the funeral home. It was $1940. Exactly what was in the envelope!