Matt Campbell was born and raised in a small rural town. He inherited an old wreck of a car from his father, which caused his brothers to ridicule him. But then something unbelievable happened.
Matt’s father, George Campbell, was a farmer who took great pride in the fact that he became wealthy by his own sweat and blood, without any help from other people or inheriting anything from his family. Many years ago, George bought unproductive land in the southern part of the state with what was left of his money. He built a fence around it and promised to make those acres bear fruit, while his neighbors thought the man was going crazy and throwing his money away.
By this time, George had three children, with Matt being the youngest. Within five years, George’s land was productive again, and he could turn that abandoned piece of land into a thriving farm that provided jobs for many local residents. In this way, despite initially being a poor and unknown family, the Campbells achieved a level of importance in the region they had never dreamed of reaching.
Over time, George’s farm became a major produce supplier to Utah and other parts of the country. For many people, the most impressive thing about this whole process was how money did not change George Campbell’s character or way of being. He remained a kind man with a heart full of hope. More than anything in the world, George loved his three sons, Cal, Tony, and Matt.
The farmer tried to give the same upbringing and treatment to each of his sons, but he identified more with the youngest. Of course, Cal and Tony could see how much more their father loved Matt and joined forces to make life difficult for the youngest, calling him a wimp and a daddy’s boy. The jealousy between the brothers had a reason. After all, Matt spent the most time with his father by far.
George would tell Matt stories from his youth, about how he began to make that farm work, and all the trials and tribulations he had to overcome to manage the land where they lived and which provided a living for their family and all the employees. One of Matt’s favorite pastimes was driving around the property in his car or pickup truck. As a young boy, he would sit on his father’s lap and pretend to drive the vehicle. As a teenager, it was on these drives along the dirt roads that the best conversations with his father took place.
It was these long conversations between father and son that inspired the youngest to want to understand his father’s business better. Of all the sons, Matt was the only one interested in going to college. Cal and Tony loved the farm but had grown accustomed to taking money from the family business and spending it on things for themselves. The older two never bothered to think about the day they would have to take over their father’s business. They figured that if their father had started everything from scratch, without any study and mentoring, they should also be able to at least keep the farm going.
George didn’t want to impose his way of thinking on his children, but he knew that things no longer worked as they did in his day. George Campbell had always been in steely health, but as the years went by, he felt weaker and more tired. Until the farmer became seriously ill one day, an illness that lasted nearly a month. He had to accept that he was now an aging farmer and had to worry about the farm’s future. So he decided to summon Louis Rawlings, his lawyer, to prepare a will.
George wanted to make sure that his kids had a good life and didn’t have to deal with the problems he did when he was young and poor. So they decided that Cal, the eldest son, would keep the farm, with thousands of head of cattle and poultry and a few acres of land for future cultivation. Tony, the middle son, would get hundreds of acres of already cultivated fields, farm equipment, his parent’s house, and a small gas station at the entrance to town. All of this was carefully documented following the wishes of the family patriarch.
However, Louis Rawlings realized that practically everything the Campbells had of value had already been divided between the two eldest sons fairly and evenly. But he felt uneasy when he realized that Matt, the youngest, would receive nothing. The lawyer then deduced that his client had other assets beyond his knowledge, perhaps some apartments outside the country or some stocks or bonds and that these assets would be left to Matt. But he was wrong. In fact, the father was leaving only one of his possessions to his favorite son: an old, broken-down car that George had bought on the side of the road the day he met their mother.
Matt had always liked the farm cars, had a good understanding of mechanics, and loved to drive, feeling the rumble from the engine. The jalopy, of great sentimental value to the dying man, sat broken in a shed on the farm, but he was sure that the younger boy would be able to fix it and make it run like new. But, already foreseeing a family dispute he would have to mediate, Louis wondered if this was really what the farmer wanted. Leaving the riches to Cal and Tony and only a broken-down old wreck to Matt. In response, the farmer laughed and said, “Yes, that is my final and irrevocable decision.”
The lawyer expected George to laugh and announce that he was just joking, but the farmer and his wife signed the official document with that division, so it was all true. Although it was an absolutely unusual situation, Louis knew he had no right to judge his clients’ actions, so he put the paperwork in a folder and said goodbye. Rawlings was an experienced lawyer who had seen many strange decisions. Still, he could not understand how a kind and a wealthy man like George Campbell would make such an unfair division of property between his sons.
He knew Matt would be resentful and confused when he read that will, which would start a fight within the family that could have been avoided. What did George intend here? Louis went back to his office in town, thinking that one day he would have to face the boy’s anger and the greed of his brothers, but he would have no power to change anything.
Five years later, the Campbell family suffered two incredible losses. The first was the death of their mother. Then, only one year later, it was George’s turn to leave this world. He already felt the weakness of old age, but losing his wife was a hard blow that hastened the decline of his health and his enthusiasm for life. At least George could say goodbye to his children before parting.
Cal and Tony had been waiting several months for this to occur. They knew it would be difficult for their father to recover, and they could hardly wait to get their hands on the family fortune. On the other hand, Matt believed that his father could improve and stay alive for a few more years. But this was not to be, and he was visibly downcast; after all, he was his father’s closest son.
Moreover, to be able to take care of his sick father in his final months, the young man put off college with only one semester left to graduate. Matt still felt a little lost without his father in that big farmhouse. A week after the burial of the patriarch, Cal, Tony, and Matt met with Louis Rawlings, the family lawyer. It was a much-anticipated meeting for all of them, especially the two oldest sons.
Louis then read the will that had been signed by both parents without a shadow of a doubt. The lawyer read it calmly, noticing how excited Cal and Tony were about the wealth and property left to them. But when it was Matt’s turn, it was remarkable how uncomfortable and out of place the boy felt.
Was this some kind of joke? Even Cal and Tony couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Matt was very hurt by this, especially after seeing how happy his brothers were. They had never cared about the farm, only about its profits, and now they had been given it all. And he, who loved the land and was interested in the business, had been left with an old, abandoned car.
“Come on, Matt. Don’t be sad. Now you can go back to college with a different car. But you’ll have to use a tow truck to get there,” Cal said, taunting the boy in front of the lawyer. They surrounded Matt and mocked him mercilessly. Matt didn’t respond to the teasing; instead, he just bowed his head, confused and thoughtful, as the brothers planned a party to celebrate receiving those fat inheritances.
Louis felt sorry for the younger boy but was relieved that he didn’t have to break up a fight between the brothers he had watched grow up. After the meeting, Matt went to see the wreck he had just inherited, hoping he would be able to see why his father had given it to him. He pulled the tarp off it, and a thick dust cloud flew into the air. There was nothing there to explain his father’s decision. He turned the key to start the engine, but nothing happened.
Just then, Tony appeared in the shed and reminded his brother that, as he was now the heir to the house, the younger brother should expedite his move to another location and take that old wagon with him. Matt had no choice. He didn’t want to live through another day of humiliation, so he packed his clothes and most essential items. He called a cab to take him to a cheap hotel in the center of the nearest town and a tow truck for his father’s old jalopy.
As he was leaving the edge of the farm, he noticed the family lawyer’s car entering the estate. The car stopped, and Matt asked the taxi driver also to pull over. The lawyer came toward him. “Did they expel you from the farm? I was afraid that was going to happen,” Louis said, shaking his head. “Matt, I’m sorry about that. It was your father’s last will and testament, and I couldn’t interfere. But you should know that he didn’t just leave you this old car.”
Matt was having a bad day and was sure he would have to take care of some other useless thing he would have to inherit. “What did my father leave me now? The Titanic?” he asked sarcastically. “No, actually, $50,000 for you to fix the car,” the lawyer said, handing him an envelope. Matt looked at the envelope and placed it on the car seat. He thanked Louis and shook his head, telling the driver to get going.
It wasn’t until he reached the hotel room that he opened the envelope and was surprised by what he had found. In addition to the $50,000, there was a piece of paper with handwritten instructions. He immediately identified his father’s handwriting. This revelation gave him a glimmer of hope, and he eagerly began to read the note.
The recently deceased man told Matt to fix that car with the money he had received. Then he was to go to an auto show in Dallas, where he could sell the vehicle. And if the price offered was not to Matt’s liking, he should go to another car show in Houston. But the young man was confused. What were these car shows? Could it be that his father had lost his mind, and he hadn’t noticed? What buyer would be crazy enough to bid on a car like that?
For a few days, Matt wondered if he should really spend the only money he had on that car. So he decided to evaluate his possibilities and stayed in simple apartments until graduation. He also went to a bank in a nearby major city and talked to the manager about investing the $50,000 wisely until he finished college. With the money, he could finish his degree without having to worry about anything else. And once he graduated, he could use what was left over to start his own business.
All these options were possible and even very reasonable, but they could not convince Matt to discard his father’s last request. While lying in bed reflecting on what he should do, Matt remembered the afternoons on the farm when he would drive around with George. His father was not academic, but his life experiences gave him wisdom, and young Matt always listened to him very carefully. Finally, as he felt himself falling asleep, he decided to take the risk and use the money to fulfill his father’s last wishes.
He spent the next few months pouring over the old car, disassembling and reassembling the engine, changing parts, cleaning the upholstery, and fixing the heavy, rusting bodywork. From time to time, Cal and Tony visited their brother and told him he should give up. With the $50,000 he had received from the will, he could have a newer car and save himself all that hassle. “But if Daddy’s little boy wants to throw his money away and keep this piece of junk, that’s fine,” Cal said, “I’m glad Daddy knew whom to leave this piece of rust for,” Tony commented.
After so much time working on the car, Matt was beginning to regret his decision. But he had gone too far to turn around now. He would only stop when that car was perfect, even if all his shirts ended up stained with grease and oil. Weeks later, he sat behind the wheel and turned the key. This time, the car’s engine roared into action. Matt was glad that he had managed to revive that old tin can; it wasn’t useless after all. In fact, it was a real beauty.
However, the roar of the engine reminded him of his father. Now he would have to drive to the auto show in Dallas to try to sell the car, as his father had requested. Matt arrived in Dallas with no problems. He found the car show his father had talked about and found that it was an event dedicated to old and rare cars. He saw many well-preserved cars, others modified, and some looked pretty crazy.
Unfortunately, the potential buyers wanted to offer only $10,000 for Matt’s car. He would not sell it for five times less than he had just spent to refurbish his father’s vehicle. So he decided to continue on to Houston. Every time the boy hit the road was a cause for concern. Although he was a good mechanic and had changed many parts, the car was a model manufactured long before Matt was born, and his fear of stalling in the middle of a deserted road was palpable.
Luckily, the overhauled engine was strong, and Matt made it to the Houston fair without any major scares. As soon as he entered the venue, he noticed that his car caught the attention of a few people. At this event, Matt met several wealthy collectors who simply drooled over his car. They called the vehicle a “true American thoroughbred” and “a gem to anyone who knows the country’s history.
“But what really impressed the young man was the auction of his car. It started at a hundred thousand dollars and quickly exceeded $500,000. When the auction reached the $1 million mark, Matt could not believe that he had been driving a gold mine all that time. Finally, a collector bought the car for 2.8 million dollars. Other cars in the fair were sold for way more, but still, this was more money than he had ever dreamed of having.
It was enough to buy Cal and Tony’s entire inheritance! He didn’t know why his father had never said that that vehicle was a rarity, but now he understood why he hadn’t been given anything from the farm. His father had left his most valuable and secret asset to him because only Matt could resurrect that machine. Only he would do the work without the certainty that the car was worth that much.
With the millions he won at the auction, Matt bought a house, finished his last semester of college, and opened his own business. Before long, he was married and had a daughter named Selina. Cal and Tony never figured out how it was that the youngest got so much money so quickly. They were also never able to handle the business accounts in the same capacity as their father.
Month after month, the firm’s profit margin dwindled until it began to lose money. Excess expenses and poor farm management began to drain the investment reserves, and gradually the brothers found themselves in serious difficulties. They had to lay off employees and sell part of the land to cover the loans they had taken out. Within three years, the Campbell family business was hanging by a thread. Cal and Tony were about to throw in the towel and lose everything their father had built from scratch.
Then, almost by a miracle, the family’s lawyer, Louis Rawlings, showed up at the farm door with an offer to buy all the Campbells’ land and business. If they accepted the amount offered, the money would drop into their accounts the next day. The amount was lower than the two brothers would have liked, but they were desperate. They wanted to return to a quiet life with money in their accounts and no worries, so they accepted.
As they left the farm, they bumped into their younger brother, Matt. Cal and Tony warned that Matt had better take the opportunity to take one last walk around the property, as they had just sold everything to someone else. “That headache is no longer ours,” Cal said. “I know,” the younger brother replied. “I am the buyer. You can check the name on the transfer. Luckily, our father is not here to see your failure with our family legacy. You are my brothers, and I love you, so I hope you will use the money from the sale wisely.”
From that day on, the Campbells’ farm became home to Matt, his wife, and Selina. Even today, you can find Matt driving along the dirt roads with his little daughter, whom he raises with the same dedication as his father.