Well-Known Virginia Local Who Chose To Live In His Car For 10 Years Dies

| by Sheena Vasani
A photo of "Uncle Buck"A photo of "Uncle Buck"

A well-known homeless man in Chesterfield County, Virginia, was found dead in a Wal-Mart parking lot on Dec. 31, 2015.

Leslie Floyd Rivers, 68, was found dead after a shopper heard the man's dog barking beside him in a Ford pickup truck, WTVR reports.

Upon investigating, Wal-Mart employee John Johnson, who had befriended Rivers, saw the man had died and called the police.

“He was a good friend of mine, a really nice guy,” Johnson told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Rivers, known by many locals as Buck or Uncle Buck, had heart problems and diabetes, according to family members. He chose to live in a vehicle for a decade, despite many social service groups trying to help him get a proper home.

“He liked being alone,” Andrew Greene, Rivers' nephew, said. "He considered himself a lone wolf."

“'We don’t want help. We got this,'” he added, recalling the words his uncle would utter when offered help.

Family members said he simply preferred the lifestyle that living in a vehicle offered him.

“A lot of people thought he was crazy,” Greene said, but Rivers’ sister -- Adele Greene -- said she didn't know of any diagnosed mental illnesses.

“He seemed to like the freedom of not being tied down,” Adele said.

Rivers particularly did not want to stay in a home where he would have to abandon his dog, Tara, which he owned since she was a pup.

“He took care of her like a child,” Johnson said.

Animal control took Tara in, but she was later adopted by Rivers' relatives.

Rivers is fondly remembered and missed not just by family but also by members of the community.

“He was my uncle, my best friend, my teacher,” Andrew said.

“He was the finest man. He was always looking to help somebody,” young local Rebekah Crute Barnes said, adding that Rivers would entertain her and her high school friends with stories in the parking lot.

Sources: WTVR (2), Richmond Times-Dispatch / Photo credit: WTVR