'World's Poorest President' Offers Ride to Hitchhiker

| by Kendal Mitchell
article imagearticle image

The President of Uruguay recently lent a helping hand to an unsuspecting hitchhiker by offering him a lift home after a long day of work.

Gerhald Acosta, a Uruguayan paper mill worker, said 25 to 30 cars already passed him before a 1987 blue Volkswagen Beetle pulled to the side of the road to give him a ride.

Inside the car, Acosta said, sat Uruguayan President Jose Mujica and his wife, Sen. Lucia Topolansky.

Acosta said he could not believe the President stopped to give him a ride and thanked the couple for their generosity.

“When I got out, I thanked them profusely, because not everyone helps someone out on the road, and much less a president,” Acosta said.

He added the couple allowed him to take a couple pictures as a keepsake from the trip, which Acosta said he promptly uploaded to his Facebook page.

President Mujica, unofficially nicknamed ‘the poorest president in the world,’ and his wife have a worldwide reputation for their modest lifestyle.

In 2010, the couple decided to not move into the presidential palace after his inauguration. Instead, they continued to live in the same small farm as earlier in their marriage.

Earlier this year, Mujica said he estimated all his assets totaled around $323,000. Reports also say he donates a majority of his monthly salary, around $11,000, to various homeless charities in Uruguay. 

In the 1970s, Mujica was part of the Tupamaro's guerilla group, which carried out bank robberies and kidnappings. The group distributed the stolen food and money to Uruguay's poor. Due to his affiliation with the group, police shot Mujica six times and he spent 14 years in military prison.

Mujica said he thinks it is important for leaders to remember their practical purpose to the people they represent and not allow illusions of power to cloud their perceptions of self-importance.

“He is a civil servant. I think the ideal way of living is to live like the vast majority of people whom we attempt to serve and represent,” Mujica once commented on the role of a president. 

Sources: Daily Mail, The Guardian

Photo Credit: Daily Mail