For years Wanda Witter wandered the streets of Washington, homeless and bereft of possessions but for three suitcases filled with yellowing government paperwork.
These letters, she would tell anyone who would listen, were proof that the United States government owed her $100,000 (75,624) in pension payments.
But the 80-year old’s appeals were met with pitiful looks as friends and passers by alike dismissed her as mentally ill.
“They kept thinking I was crazy, telling me to get rid of the suitcases,” she told the Washington Post.
It had started when Ms Witty noticed that the payments were for different amounts each month. So she kept the cheques.
“If I just cashed them, who would believe me that they were wrong?” Ms Witter said.
She called the government pension department. She sent letters. Even when, later, she became homeless and was bedding down on the pavement outside a McDonalds, her trove of documents were always meticulously ordered.
This saga continued for 16-years until, one week ago, Ms Witter was finally proven right.
Her SunTrust bank account is now replete with the $999,999 she was owed.
Her luck had turned last year, when Julie Turner, a social worker decided to look at Ms Witter’s papers and found that the elderly lady was telling the truth.
Mrs Turner took her to a lawyer who helped her secure the pension. Now Ms Witter is setting about getting her life back on track.
She has four daughters living in different parts of America, and so will set about visiting them.
I’ve got grandchildren I’ve never met, she told the Washington Post. Secondly, she wants to fix her teeth. I want to smile without looking like an old hag,” she said. She’s going to be smiling a lot from now on.
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