Homeless Vet’s Life Changed When Stranger Learns His Name


There’s Still Good People In The World

Sometimes your luck can take a turn when you least expect it. Life can be tough, but there’s still good people in the world for whom making others lives better is a vital purpose.

One of the protagonists of this story was blessed to cross paths with one such character who helped him out when he least expected it.

The Story Of Woodrow Wilson

Youtube Chicago Sun Times

Woodrow Wilson’s wasn’t at a good spot. He lived in the streets of Chicago and a particularly crude winter was coming. It was getting harder and harder by the day to endure the cold during the nights.

He was in need of money, and he needed it now.

His Life Wasn’t Easy


For some years now, Wilson’s life had really been a hustle. He had been homeless for several years and had to do all sorts of things to be able to feed himself. At first, homeless shelters were there for him and they made the winters easier. But that was no longer an option.

However, things hadn’t always been so bad for Wilson. Something had happened in his past that led him to the situation where he now was.

He Was A Veteran

Business Insider

Wilson was a US Army veteran. During the 80s, he was in Grenada and saw all sorts of things over there. There were some gruesome and difficult times and also some good ones. Overall, he was grateful for what the experience taught him about the human condition. However, when he thought about it, it occurred to him that he’d rather have learned those things in a different way.

Still, when he came back home, he expected all his grief and effort to be rewarded by his government somehow. But he found something different.

It Was Hard For Him Back Home

Plain Magazine

When he came back home from Grenada, things weren’t easy. He couldn’t find a job and ended up spending all his savings in a matter of months.

Finally, he was evicted from his flat. And things went downhill from there.

He Needed Money


At first, he could rely on homeless shelters. But he still needed money.

At that time, there was a lot of criminal activity in Chicago and many people were making a profit out of the trafficking of illegal substances. Reluctantly at first, he had to resort to those activities to be able to provide for himself. That was even harder than the war. But his misfortunes didn’t end there.

He Went To Prison

Inverstor Place

At one point, he got caught. His lawyer was sloppy and careless, and people were catching sentences left and right at that time for that kind of offense.

He went to jail for seven years. It seemed like there was no light at the end of the tunnel for Wilson.

His Misfortunes Weren’t Over

Youtube Chicago Sun Times

After he got out, he gave up on illegal activities, as he had learned his lesson. But things only went downhill from there.

Due to his conviction and reputation, he was no longer accepted into the homeless shelters of his city. He was absolutely homeless from then on, and had little options left to make a living.

He Sold Things In Pawn Shops

Youtube Chicago Sun Times

For the most part, he fed himself with the charity of Chicago passers-by and through another activity: he looked for valuable objects in people’s trash and took them to pawn shops. Sometimes they were broken and weren’t worth anything, but sometimes he got a few bucks out of them.

One day during that rough winter, he found an old stereo. Immediately, he took it to the closest pawn shop he saw in the vicinity. Little did he know that his luck was about to change.

Something Unexpected Happened

Youtube Chicago Sun Times

The stereo was working alright, and the pawn shop owner offered him $30 for it. That would be enough for Wilson to get by through a few weeks.

But when he was asked his name to formalize the deal, the pawn shop owner reacted in a way that he didn’t expect.

The Shop Owner Knew Him

Youtube Chicago Sun Times

“Are you really Woodrow Wilson? God, I’ve been looking for you for years. This is for you, it’s worth $3,000” he said as he gave him a few pieces of paper.

Wilson was bewildered and thought that the pawn shop owner had mistaken him for another person at first. But when he took a look at the papers, he remembered everything.

That Was Worth $3,000

Youtube Chicago Sun Times

They were some old savings bonds he had cashed in in that same pawn shop during the 80s, right after he came back from Grenada. At the time, they were $100 each, but inflation had made their worth get higher and higher: now, they were worth $3,000.

But how did the owner of the pawn shop know they were his? He was too young to have been working during the 80s.

How Did He Know?

Youtube Chicago Sun Times

The answer is simple: the current owner, a man named Chris Mathis, had taken over the shop in 2003. He had gone through all the old savings bonds people had cashed in in the past and, knowing that their value was higher now, he had been trying to locate all of their owners.

But Wilson had been the hardest one to find for him.

He Looked For Him Everywhere

Youtube Chicago Sun Times

The man seemed impossible to locate. After a while, he hired a private investigator, who found out that Wilson was homeless at that time and living somewhere in the streets of Chicago.

After a while, Mathis was close to giving up on finding Wilson. But he never threw those bonds or cashed them in himself, which says a lot about his character.

A Good Samaritan


He gave the old bonds to Wilson, who immediately started crying tears of joy and thanked Mathis for his kindness and righteousness. That unexpected money would make his life a lot easier.

“Pawn shop owners aren’t generally known for being sentimental people,” Mathis commented to reporters who asked him about the story. But clearly, Mathis was cut from a different cloth.