Enigmatic Elderly Man Lives On Cruise Ship For Years, Cops Step In
She Would Do Anything
She had noticed the elderly man as soon as she stepped onto the ship. She had heard he kept to himself, and not many people knew much about it except that he had been living on the ship for years.
Two police officers boarded in search of the man once the ship was docked. That’s when she decided she would do anything to learn about this man and find out his story.
On A Cruise Ship
Jill Levine was a divorced mom to two children. Her children were away for a few weeks, spending time with friends, which meant Jill, who was also a reporter, got a much-deserved break on a cruise ship during the time the story took place.
She had no idea that her life was about it be changed forever. All it took was meeting one man.
Jill had been looking forward to taking a vacation for months, and she thoroughly enjoyed the first few days away from the stress.
As an introvert, she had perhaps sought a job that allowed her to look at life from the observer’s perspective. She enjoyed going on vacation trips alone, people watching and seeing the situations they got themselves into. But things would be different this time.
An Old Man
Jill instantly noticed the old man who was mysteriously among the ship’s crew. She often spotted him alone, wandering the deck. She had seen him most often walking about the deck at night.
The longer she watched him, the more it became clear he seemed to have a spot on the ship he liked most.
Stepping Into Another Ear
He seemed to love the ship’s lounge, with its beaming lights and old-school decoration. Musical performances by artists who performed songs from the 50s and 60s added to the nostalgic, old-fashioned, classy air.
Walking inside felt like stepping out of a time machine, and Jill felt like she had been transported into another era. But that wasn’t all. There had been something else about the lounge that she noticed.
She found the man puzzling, always spotting him alone at the same table and staring into the unknown whenever she stepped into the lounge.
He sat so still he could be mistaken for the furniture that filled the lounge, and Jill often found herself feeling uncomfortable by the mysterious display. Questions filled her head every time she came across him.
When she passed by one of the ship’s staff members, she asked about him. She wasn’t sure what the answer would be but didn’t expect this: “He’s been living on the ship for years. I’ve never seen him leave, and I’ve been working here for just five years.” They further explained that he lived as though it was a home like any other and even paid his rent.
They said that the cook told them how he had been living there for over the past decade. As amazed as Jill was, there was still more for her to discover.
The staff knew very little about the old man except that he was polite. The man preferred his privacy and didn’t speak much about himself.
Jill was even more curious about the old man despite getting some answers. Why had he decided to live on a cruise ship of all places? It wasn’t long before the ship docked at Miami port which had her diving deeper into her investigations.
Conversation With Policemen
The ship had just been docked when two police officers climbed on board. They were talking to the old man when she spotted him again, but she was too far away to hear what they were saying. The officers left after a short while, and the old man watched them go.
She had been frightened by the sight of the two officers but knew now that she needed to understand this man’s story. Considering the police officers had left, she decided to make her way over.
She Approached Him
She was cautious as she approached the old man but soon found he was friendly. He had easily welcomed her into his room, ready to share his story with her.
93-year-old Morton Wilson had spent the last 13 years living on the cruise ship. He had decided to do so after his partner had passed away. As he shared his story, Jill realized a lot had happened to him throughout his lifetime.
He was born and raised in Brooklyn; up until 1946, he had spent time abroad with the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence. He had seen a lot of things and had a lot of stories from that time.
After that, he met his wife and started working as a pharmacist, earning about $65 a week. But after a few years, his luck had taken a wild turn.
During his time in the navy, he was acquainted with a German textile manufacturer who asked him to introduce lace-making machines to the U.S. From then on, Wilson built what became his own successful lace-making business.
Since that time, most of the lace production moved from the West to China, where labor is cheaper. However, his company has managed to stay afloat. It still owns 45 of the 70 machines currently producing lace in America.
However, Wilson retired in 1989 and left the business in the hands of one of his grandsons. Since then, he had spent most of his time at sea; he and his wife loved cruise ships, and they would spend months sailing.
But at one point, his beloved wife passed away; and things had never been the same for Wilson. So he took a drastic decision.
Living At Sea
He decided to spend the rest of his days living on a cruise ship. He had a condo in Boca Raton, Florida, where he kept his possessions.
But at least 3 or 4 years had passed since he last set foot there. To Jill, something still didn’t quite add up.
Jill was still curious about one thing. Everything the older man had explained showed that he was an upstanding person in many ways.
What Jill had witnessed that morning didn’t quite fit the image. So why was he seemingly being interrogated by police officers?
The man explained that his peculiar lifestyle meant he had to contend with unusual legal problems. Jill was suddenly very intrigued again.
He had seemed a straight-laced figure so far. Jill wondered if there wasn’t something else to the older man, perhaps a dark side.
While certainly intriguing, there was no doubt that the man’s lifestyle was also extraordinary. If he did own property, it begged the question as to why he chose to live on a ship.
On the other hand, if he was happy to live on the ship, why did he bother keeping the property on the mainland. Jill’s journalist instincts were going into overdrive.
The Mystery Deepens
Now that Jill thought about it, much of his story seemed a little odd. He had lived on the ship for so long, but none of the crew seemed to know that much about him.
Was that a coincidence or by design? Jill had met guarded people before. Her experience had shown her that they were usually this way because they had something to hide.
As Jill listened to his story, she kept these troublesome thoughts to herself. If the older man did have a darker side to him, she didn’t want to spook him or let on her suspicions.
It suddenly dawned on her that Wilson reminded her of another person she had once interviewed. A new worrying possibility crossed her mind as she thought of this man.
The Old Runner
Years back, Jill had covered a story that shocked her to her core. It had made her doubt everything she’d ever known about taking people at face value.
The man in question had seemed like an ideal family man. As she dug deeper into the story, she realized how innovative criminals could be when they wanted to evade the truth.
The man Jill had previously written a story on was known as “Bobby Love”. On the surface, he had lived an extraordinary life as a family man and was beyond reproach.
However, in Bobby’s case, his wife and kids unexpectedly discovered that he held a shocking secret. It seems Bobby had been hiding his whole life.
Parallels With Bobby
In Bobby Love’s case, he had relocated to New York and lived an idyllic life for over 30 years. He was a devoted husband and father and an active member of his church and community.
That was until the FBI came knocking with a warrant one day. Only then did Bobby’s family learn that he had been an escaped convict who had evaded the law for three decades.
As Jill looked at the wizened old man in front of her with his kindly face and gentle demeanor, she couldn’t help but trust him. He seemed far too likable.
However, the fact that he had been living on a cruise ship all this time was weird at best. It could make sense if he were a fugitive that was afraid of ever returning to the mainland.
Jill realized she was skipping ahead and allowing her reporter brain to over-analyze everything. As she listened instead, she realized that Wilson seemed to be upfront.
He explained that since his possessions were all still stored in a property he owned on the mainland, he often needed police intervention.
It Made Sense
He confirmed that since his property was left vacant so often, he sometimes had to contend with vandals and squatters. Luckily, he had a good relationship with the local police.
The two officers had actually wanted to see him to clarify some paperwork regarding a misunderstanding about the house. Jill was relieved but still had one burning question.
A Strange Choice
Given that Wilson was successful, he obviously wasn’t living on the ship out of necessity. He’d explained that he and his wife loved going on cruises.
However, he could have chosen to keep going on them for holidays. If he still had property on the mainland, the big question was, why choose to live on the ship full time?
Wilson told Jill that, on the cruise ship, he felt like the Captain of his destiny. He had everything he needed, and being alone allowed him not to depend on or be tied to anyone or anything.
The explanation made sense to Jill. However, she was beginning to wonder if another factor was at play in his decision. It was a little personal, so she wondered how to bring it up.
Jill wondered if Wilson perhaps felt connected to the cruise ship life in a more personal way. It was clear that he deeply missed his wife.
According to him, the pair had bonded over their cruise trips. Was it possible that Wilson clung to the seafaring life as a way of feeling connected to his wife?
Jill realized it would probably be too personal to ask about this. However, it was a sound theory, and she was content knowing that it was a possibility.
She had grown to really like the sweet old man and could tell that he was a warm person. Whatever his reasons, one thing was clear.
Regardless of whether there was any more profound reason for Wilson’s choice to live on a cruise ship, it was clear that he was happy. After all, it was his choice, he paid for the privilege, and by all accounts, he never bothered anyone.
According to him, there were intangible reasons why he had stayed on the ship so long. These reasons were better explained in his words.
A Hidden Gem
To Wilson, It was a sort of freedom that he wouldn’t be able to feel if he lived on land or in a nursing home. “Where else could I feel this secure and safe? Life on board couldn’t be better,” he told Jill.
By the end of the talk, Jill felt very happy and honored to have met such a fascinating person. She had come on board for a relaxing holiday but left with a gem of a story too.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.