A lowly farmhand, but he had a bag full of cash

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A lowly farmhand, but he had a bag full of cash

A 67-year-old man surnamed Kim from Uiseong County, North Gyeongsang, has spent decades as a farmhand, living in the owner’s house, doing all the dirty work.

On Jan. 13, Kim was heading home to his older brother’s house for a vacation in Andong, North Gyeongsang, driving his farm vehicle at sunset, when a van crashed into his truck from behind. Kim hurt his head and his truck was crushed. When the 119 rescue team and the police arrived, Kim imploringly asked the police to “find a cotton bag that was inside the [truck],” and there it was, with 26 million won ($23,000) inside.

The bag was full of an older version of 10,000 won bank notes, crumpled and soggy, just as Kim had left them. The police took the bag full of money to the hospital where Kim was being treated and began arranging the bank notes with help from hospital authorities. There was mixture of 50,000, 10,000 and 5,000 won notes, as well, totaling 26,305,000 won.

While Kim was undergoing brain surgery, a husband and wife surnamed Park were the first to visit him at the hospital.

The cash inside the bag was Kim’s lifelong salary that he had accumulated while working as a farmhand for the Parks for more than 20 years. He was paid 10,000 won per day, which was about 3.6 million won per year.

Kim had been working at Park’s property, doing farm work for the couple who are now in their 70s. Park said that Kim asked to be paid in cash. “He was a hard working man with a good heart,” said Park, 71.

According to Park, Kim never wasted money and saved much of his wage. He mainly spent money by sending some to his brother. Kim was only a farmhand, but he helped his brother.

In fact, it’s not the first time Kim’s farm vehicle brought him bad luck. Fifteen years ago, the Parks introduced Kim to a woman and they got married. But soon after, when Kim and his wife got on the truck to visit the mother-in-law’s home, another accident happened, which killed his wife.

Although the Uiseong town office at one point told Kim to quit working as a farmhand and go into a nursing home because he could receive a minimum living cost, which was more than Kim’s salary, he rejected the idea, saying that it is better to work than to be stuck in the facility.

By Song Yee-ho[enational@joongang.co.kr]
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