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Urban Legends

Wheelbarrow Thief

The Legend

Found on the Internet in January 1997

A rich man was having a large addition added to his home. The workmen were on the site from 7 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, but one night when the man got home at five, he saw one of the workmen leaving by the side gate pushing a wheelbarrow full of dirt.

The man didn't think much of this, but the next night he came home at five again and saw the same worker coming out with a wheelbarrow full of dirt again.

There was something incredibly suspicious about this. And it didn't take long for the rich man to begin to suspect that the worker was waiting for the rest of the crew to leave so that he could steal from the work site, probably hiding his ill-gotten gains in the dirt.

The next afternoon, the man got home a little early and waited for the worker. When the worker came out with the wheelbarrow, the rich man confronted him and searched through the dirt. He found nothing and sent the worker on his way.

The afternoon after that, the worker came out a few minutes after 5 and the man again confronted him and found nothing. This continued for more than a month. Each day the worker left a little later, probably to try and avoid his snooping employer, but the rich man always waited in his car in the driveway so that the worker couldn't get by without being searched. But the rich man never found anything, either in the dirt in the wheelbarrow or in the worker's pockets, and the worker was sometimes coming out as late as 7 or 8 in the evening.

Finally the addition to the house was complete. On the last day, the man waited impatiently in his Cadillac in the driveway until after 10 for the worker to come out with his wheelbarrow. The worker looked positively exhausted, but the rich man would tolerate no excuses. "Look," he said. "I have been searching this wheelbarrow every day for seven weeks. I'm sure you're stealing something but for the life of me I can't figure out what it is. It's got me so worked up that I can't think straight and my work is suffering. I lie in bed every night trying to figure it out and I just can't. I admit it, you've got me beaten, but I have to know or I'll never get a decent night's sleep. So I promise you right now, if you'll just tell me what you've been stealing and I'll let you go on your way."

 "Señor, I have been stealing nothing," the worker said with a smile. "But every afternoon while you sit in the driveway in your car, I have been screwing your wife."


Behind the Legend

This tale exists in a variety of forms, but the one above is the closest to the actual event. The most common variation involves the workman stealing wheelbarrows, but seriously, what worksite has that many wheelbarrows?


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