WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Woodrow Wilson Jr. had been stationed at a local U.S. Army base in Junction City, Kansas when he was a young man.
- Now in Chicago but homeless, the 58-year-old man had no idea that an exchange he made at a pawn shop in Kansas 30 years ago would find its way back to him.
- Chris Mathis, the owner of that Kansas pawn shop, told Wilson that the handful of $100 savings bonds he sold to the pawn shop were now fully matured to over three grand.
Woodrow Wilson Jr. was stationed at an army base in Junction City, Kansas when he sold a handful of $100 savings bonds went to a local pawn shop when he needed cash.
After 30 years, Wilson ended up homeless and living 600 miles away in the streets of Chicago.
Chris Mathis vowed on finding the owners of the savings bonds that stacked up over the years in his pawn shop. Mathis took over the business from his father years ago. He already found over 50 of them except Woodrow Wilson Jr. The only information he got was he was from Chicago.
The police had one picture of Wilson when he was arrested for loitering. He had been homeless for the last three years.
WGN News found out Wilson was often seen at the corner of Van Buren and LaSalle but due to freezing temperatures, no one is safe to spend a whole night over there. Shelters were packed and nobody had seen him in over a week.
The media company found him Friday afternoon. WGN’s Erin Ivory told him about the savings bonds from 30 years ago.
“Yes! I remember the pawn shop!” Wilson said. He was elated to learn that the savings bonds were now fully matured to just over three grand.
“You could use $3,000, right?” Erin asked him.
Wilson answered yes but still looked unconvinced so Erin put him on the phone with Mathis.
Mathis made plans to send the money to Wilson by Friday. Woody was so relieved that he’ll be able to find a warm place to sleep this winter with that money. He only had two pairs of pants and a blanket inside his backpack.
“They’ve been jam-packed,” he said about the shelters. “You just can’t get in.”
“He could have kept it himself and cashed it in. I’m surprised he’s going to give it back to me,” Woody said about Mathis. “It means a lot because I don’t have nothing. It really helps me.”
Mathis says returning the savings bonds to the rightful owners has brought him so much joy.