This is one of those apocryphal stories that pop up from time to time. This time it’s on Fortune Watch, although under a humor and stories set of categories. It’s the famous story of the millionaire who, on his way out of town, borrows $5000 from a bank and uses his Ferrari as collateral. Upon return, he picks up his car and pays approximately $15 in interest. When asked why he would use a $250,000 (although I’ve seen the value of the car vary in retellings) for a $5000 loan, he replies “Where else can I park my car in this city (usually NYC) for $15 and expect it to be there when I get back?”
It’s a nice story, and a nice illustration that most wealthy people get to be wealthy by not making the overpriced mistakes of the “poor” and “middle class”, but does anybody know if this story is actually true?
I’m not a fan of unverifiable illustrations. I don’t like them in sermons, in motivational material, and even in drinking stories. They’re fine in jokes. If this millionaire parking story came from a joke book, that’s fine, but I’m getting worried about it being passed off as unverifiable fact like the “train bridge operator” story. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that sermon illustration about the train bridge operator who brought his son to work with him, and when the train was approaching, he saw his son playing in the gears, and was forced to kill his son to put the bridge down as the express train was fast approaching, and as the train went by, he screamed “Don’t you people know that I just killed my son for you!” followed by a Gospel invitation. Yeah, nice story, but let’s have some names, and dates, and maybe some CPS or DYFS investigations, or some railroad investigations. It sounds more like negligence and parenting failure to me than a comparison to the cross. I’ve probably heard this millionaire parking story more than I’ve heard the idiot train bridge operator kills son for express train sermon illustration. (Yes, I’ve heard that train story from the pulpit in my own church several times, and in podcast sermons, and I’ve probably read it in books.)
I can’t find anything on Snopes, which is my go-to site for any stupid email that I get. Actually, nobody sends them to me anymore. It’s far more likely that I was just taken off distribution lists rather than I convinced people to verify that Bill Gates is in fact testing an email tracking program and will pay you $1000 for every idiot you can spam.
If you can provide any details about this millionaire parking story (or the train-bridge guy story for that matter), please leave them in the comments.