When his wife divorced him and left him with nothing, Tom became a homeless man. He found himself living in a tent in the woods. At first, he thought his life was ruined but he learned to love being alone with nature. Yet, he was barely getting by.
So, Tom would sometimes return to town to do some menial chores to earn a little bit of money. He washed cars for loose change and did deliveries for the grocery in exchange for food. But one day, he finds money in the trash and his life started to turn around.
A suspicious man
One day, while Tom was walking home after doing some jobs, he noticed something strange. A sketchy-looking man was standing by two large garbage bins. He was looking around nervously and then quickly threw a garbage bag inside then walked away quickly.
Tom had never seen anyone look so nervous about throwing away the trash. It was very unusual. Curious, Tom carefully took the bag out to see what was inside. The bag was filled to the brink so he expected it to be heavy but it was not as heavy as it looked.
The trash bag was filled with money
The streets were starting to get busy as people were starting to get off from their work. He did not want people to think he was scavenging for trash. They may not be giving him jobs when they hear about it. So, Tom decided to take the bag home with him to his tent.
When Tom arrived at his tent, he eagerly opened the bag. What he saw made him gasp. He made a hundred guesses on his way home but he never expected this. The trash bag was filled with cash and it was more money than he had ever owned in his life.
He does not have to work anymore
Tom could not believe his luck. With this cash, he probably no longer has to work again. Tom quickly tied up the trash bag and looked around for a safe place to hind it. If anyone knew about this, they would definitely come and take the money away.
The next day, Tom told his old neighbor that he would no longer be washing cars again. His old neighbor was confused and asked don’t he need the cash? Tom just simply shook his head and said he did not need it anymore.
Another bag in the trash
Tom walked around town, feeling a bit free. It definitely felt good to have more than enough cash in his pockets again. He planned to buy himself some food when he saw the same man standing by the garbage cans again.
Tom quickly stopped walking and hid behind a tree, He watched as the man threw in another trash bag inside the cans. Tom held his breath. Could that bag be filled with money, too? Tom watched the man walk away before he ran to the trash bin.
Buying a cabin
Tom quickly recovered the bag and quickly went home to his tent, forgetting about food. Now that he was alone and he was sure nobody followed him, he opened the trash bag. Just as he suspected, this one was also filled with cash.
This went on for a few more days. The man returned to the trash bin and threw in a trash bag full of cash. Tom would retrieve that bag each time until he was able to have enough cash to buy a small cabin in the woods. He finally had a home once more.
Where did he get the money?
The people in town started talking about Tom. It was a small town where families have been rooted there for generations – everyone knew each other. They knew about how the divorce messed up his life and how his wife took everything he owned.
They helped him out by making him do odd jobs for food or cash. With Tom rejecting those jobs now, the people in town started to wonder. He could not have saved that much money to afford a cabin in the woods with the cash he earned doing menial tasks.
The cops start an investigation
It was odd to see Tom going around spending cash all of a sudden. When the cabin owner said that Tom paid in cash, the rumors got worse. Everyone wondered where Tom got the cash. It did not take long for the police to get involved.
Tom had no idea that he was the talk of the town. He barely went into town anymore now that he had his cabin. He had a garden to grow his food and he was content with a quiet and simple life. But all of that was about to change.
A visit from the cops
One day, an officer came knocking on Tom’s door. He introduced himself as Officer Dave and told him that they have gotten a lot of concerns about Tom’s spending and a lot of people in town wanted an investigation about where all his money was coming from.
Officer Dave apologized for the intrusion. He seemed to be sympathetic as he said that he believed everyone should mind their own business. But the number of inquiries about the situation forced the cops to make an investigation.
Tom felt Officer Dave’s sincerity and wondered if he should tell him the truth. After all, he technically did not do anything wrong. Tom confessed and told Officer Dave about the strange man and the bags of cash he found in the trash.
Officer Dave could not believe his ears. If Tom was telling the truth, there must be something big operating in town that they were not aware of. The police chief needed to hear this. He asked Tom if he could come with him to the police station.
The crowd attacks Tom
When they arrived at the station, some people noticed and they started to gather. Some of them started to yell at Tom, saying that he was a thief. Tom felt helpless and vulnerable. Why were they treating him like a criminal? He was not even in cuffs.
Officer Dave quickly led him inside and sat him down in the interrogation room. He apologized as he cuffed his hands. He told Tom it was necessary to make sure that he won’t leave as they verify his story first.
Tom told the story once more. He told them everything he knew and tried to describe the man as best as he can. Officer Dave took down notes and asked him for more details when needed. After they had discussed everything, Dave thanked Tom and left the room.
Tom sat down and waited, processing what just happened. In a way, he felt relieved after confessing everything – it felt like a weight had lifted from his shoulders. He knew he had done right by cooperating with the authorities.
Letting him go
But as he looked down at his cuffed hands, he felt anxious. What will happen next? Will he even be able to clear his name and move on? It seemed like his life was just one scandal after another. He doubt that the townspeople would help him out after this one.
Officer Dave came back and told Tom he was free to go but he had to surrender the rest of the money he got. They allowed him to continue staying in the cabin and he was instructed not to leave town while the investigation was still going on.
They needed his help
Aside from the rumors going around about him, there was something else that bothered Tom. He felt that he was being watched all the time. He always found himself looking over his shoulder, wondering if he was being followed. Were the police still investigating him?
The next day, Tom received a call from Officer Dave. He told Tom that there was some progress in the investigation and they needed his help to catch the thief. Tom’s heart raced as he heard this. He suddenly got nervous. “What do you want me to do?”
Identifying the culprit
Officer Dave explained that they had come up with a plan to trap the culprit. They had a suspect in mind but needed proof that it was really him. They needed Tom’s help since he was the only one who can identify him.
Officer Dave told him not to worry because the cops would be watching him closely from now on. They won’t allow him to be in danger. All he had to do was just go about his daily routine and make sure that he checks on the garbage bins from time to time.
Working on the plan
The next day, Tom did as he was instructed. He went about doing his errands and the moment he reached town, he felt like he was being watched. This time, he was not nervous because he knew for sure that it was the cops.
Tom made his way to where the garbage bins were and hid behind a tree, pretending to read a newspaper. Officer Dave gave him a call and instructed Tom on what signal to give once he confirms they have the right man.
Catching the culprit
In just a few minutes, the suspicious man showed up. He was carrying a trash bag and deposited it in the trash bin as usual. Tom gave the signal and as the man walked away, several men blocked him and made the arrest.
Tom felt a sense of relief wash over him as he watched the police arrest the man. With this development, he realized his name can be cleared now and he did his part in catching the culprit. He can now move on with his life.
News spread about what really happened. Tom’s name was cleared and his life was slowly going back to normal. The authorities allowed him to keep the cabin and he was able to find a steady job that allowed him to pay his bills on time.
The townspeople, who had once been suspicious of him, now looked up to him. They had seen him grow up, lose his home, and now he was a hero. They admired him for overcoming the challenges he had in life.
The unexpected reward
A few weeks after the arrest, Tom was given a reward of $10,000 by the police for his assistance in catching a high-profile culprit. Tom did not expect the reward – letting him keep the cabin was more than enough.
Tom decided to donate a portion of the reward to a local homeless shelter. He used the rest of the money to start his own business – a small bakery. He had always loved baking and now he was able to make a living doing something he loved.