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The tenant decided to use the windfall to pay it forward.

Having a roof over your head is right up there with food, water, and clothing when it comes to essential needs. And so paying rent is a necessary evil if you don’t own a home.

You’re used to writing the cheques, and your landlord is used to receiving them. It’s the nature of the rental business game.

However, for one lucky tenant, his landlord decided to turn the tables and gifted him with a generous surprise he wasn’t expecting.

The Surprising Gift One Landlord Gave Their Former Tenant

a $2500 cheque
Credit: FB/Chris Robarge

When Chris Robarge from Worcester, Massachusetts was getting divorced, he did what so many other people do in the same situation — he moved out of his house and into a rental.

He enjoyed his time there and then moved on, never giving it a second thought. Until one day, out of the blue, his former landlord reached out to him, asking for his current address.

Days later, a letter showed up in the mail. And with it a sizeable cheque. To the tune of $2500.

In a Facebook post that has gone viral, Robarge shared his story. He wrote:

“A person I formerly rented from asked me for my current address recently. This person rented me a space in their house that was the first place I had to actually call home when I had to leave my house after I got divorced.”

He explained that he “paid a completely fair amount of money” for his accommodations and really enjoyed his time there. “I figured that was that,” he said.

But apparently, it wasn’t.

Why the Landlord Decided to Split the Profits

It turns out that the landlord, who asked to remain anonymous, had recently sold the house and recouped a tidy profit. In the spirit of giving, the landlord decided to share part of their earnings. And not just with Robarge.

The generous landlord refunded a portion of the rent paid to ALL of their previous tenants.

In the letter, the landlord explained the reasoning behind it, writing:

“I recently sold the house and the rent you paid each month contributed to paying off the mortgage. I firmly believe the capitalist tradition of retaining money after the sale of a property is exploitative and antithetical to society.”

The landlord added that they “tried to keep the rent equivalent to the monthly expenses of keeping the house,” which included the mortgage, interest, taxes, utilities, and home improvement costs.

They also elaborated on how they calculated the sum, factoring in a whopping 40% increase in the value of the home from the time they bought it.

The result meant that Robarge was suddenly $2500 richer.

The landlord ended the letter: “It was a great house and I’m glad that I was able to share it with you.” 

The Gesture Meant More to One Man Than He Could Express

a letter
Credit: FB/Chris Robarge

Not only did his former landlord’s move shock Robarge, but it also had a profound effect on him as well.

“I have been sitting with this for more than a day and I am still completely beyond an actual way to describe what this act means to me,” Robarge wrote.

And that’s when one small drop created a ripple. Robarge decided to use the proceeds and pay it forward.

In an edited update on his post, Robarge shared that he would keep $500 for personal use and give the rest of the money away.

“I am keeping $500 to put towards some major work my car needs. I am giving away the rest of the money. I want this good deed to reach as far as possible.” He continued, “I have already given $500 to Black and Pink Massachusetts, I’m going to fill every Worcester Free Fridge, I’m making a donation to OurStory Edutainment, and I’m going to give some money out in the streets to people who need it.”

He hoped that passing on his landlord’s kindness would inspire others to do the same. And if people weren’t able to do for others what his landlord had done for him, Robarge hoped that they would still “give whatever you can spare to someone or someplace that needs it.”

The Landlord’s Act of Kindness Brought People to Tears

After going public, thousands of people flocked to the comment section, praising the landlord’s actions and Robarge’s response.

One person shared their own story of love in action: “This made me cry. We have been through some heart-wrenching times these past few months from deaths to suicides job loss, etc. I could not get people to pay me what they owed me and out of the blue, a pastor friend brought us $500 inside a Thanksgiving card. We were close to being homeless. It saved us. I intend to pay it forward as well.”

Another wrote, “This made me cry.”

Others commented on how much they appreciated the landlord’s integrity and willingness to live out their values.

And Robarge agreed. “All that I can say is that there are people who talk about their values and there are people who actually live them, and the reason I wanted to share this is that I want to encourage us all to actually live our values.”

He went on to say, “Do it off the clock, do it when no one is watching, do it always.”

After all, actions speak louder than words.

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