Allen G Custerton was known for his generosity. Every year, he donated oodles of cash to the various worthy organizations in and around Donortown. Women’s shelters, international non-profits, you name it, he donated to it.
People waved at him as he drove by in his BMW, and stopped him on the streets to thank him for his contributions. Allen G Custerton merely smiled and nodded magnanimously, “It’s the least I can do after all,” he would say.
No one knew exactly how Allen G Custerton made his money. He owned a button factory, of course, inherited from his late father, but it wasn’t doing too well, and there were even rumors that it had had to be bailed out a few years past, by a mysterious officer of the biggest multimillion-dollar textile company in the province–CloudCovers.
Investments, everyone said. That’s how he did it–fed his family, kept the business afloat, and continued to give away cash to worthy orgs.
No one watched Allen G Custerton, when he drove to the neighboring Normaltown twice a year to visit his younger cousin Sabrina. Normaltown had a lower SES than Donortown and while it was relatively comfortable and crime-free, it was far more middle class than Donortown. When people heard that Allen G Custerton went to visit his cousin “Sabs,” they assumed he was going over there to help out his only living relative and her “poor family.”
“Hi, Al,” Sabs said one day when she saw her cousin drive up in his fancy car. She was standing in the front yard watering the garden.
“So, Sabs,” Allen said. “I found this new charity the other day.”
“Oh? What does it do?”
“Feed orphans in Mongolia,” Allen replied. “I did all the research. Wanna support?”
“Sure, have Fred take a look,” Sabs said. “If he okays it, we can add it to the list. How much were you thinking?”
“Maybe five million?”
Sabs raised an eyebrow. “Five million?”
“Well, I donated a total of 40 million to the various charities last year, I don’t want to underdo myself this year. If I donate five milllion to this organization, I will have donated 42 million this year by my count.”
Sabs looked at him. “Hmm.”
“C’mon, Sabs, I can’t afford to sully my image of being a rich and successful and generous businessman. The factory isn’t doing so well. This might help it. And you and Fred don’t like people to know it’s you donating the actual money, after all.”
Sabs sighed, then shook her head, smiling a bit. “Alright, cuz, you win. I’ll check with Fred, but five million should be okay.”
“Thank you! You are the best!” Al said, kissing his cousin on the cheek.
Just then, one of the neighborhood kids biked by.
“Hi, Mrs. Cloud!” he yelled.
“Hi Nicky,” Sabrina said. Then she turned to Al: “Fred and I will wire you the money tomorrow. Now, come in and wash your hands for dinner.”