Using your entire livelihood can be devastating as a lot of us have learned during this year’s unemployment crisis. It’s especially depressing when it’s something you and your entire family have worked on for decades together. Yet, this story has a happy ending with a surprising twist.
David has been a farmer all his life. He’s not alone either – his whole family are farmers as well and were working together on a farm for the last several decades. That is, until an ancestor decided to sell the farm with little to no warning and left David and his whole family utterly defeated. The whole ordeal was 100% legal but that didn’t make it any less devastating for David and his family.
They weren’t about to give up, however. Having been in the farming business for so long, they knew that the farm would sooner or later go on sale, likely on an auction. The family gathered all the money they had saved up and decided to try and buy the farm back.
When the day of the auction arrived, David and his father arrived at the farm only to see two hundred other farmers there with them. The two of them were devastated. It didn’t seem plausible for them to buy back their farm with that much competition using the funds they had at their disposal.
Farming auctions work on the same basic principle as any other auction – the more people bid, the higher the price gets. If even a few other farmers tried to outbid them, David and his father wouldn’t have been able to buy their land back.
A fortuitous twist
David and his father waited through the auction for their farm to be presented – they weren’t interested in any of the other properties at that time. They just wanted to get their farm back. When the time came, the two made their bid and waited, holding their breath… and then nothing. Out of the 200 other farmers at the auction, not a single one tried to outbid them. And it wasn’t because the land wasn’t worth bidding on – it was!
It turned out that all 200 other farmers had agreed not to prevent the family from getting their farm back before the auction. Without David having to ask them and without even one of them going against the group, they all kept to their verbal arrangement throughout the bidding process.
The auctioneer tried to test them too – praising the land and nudging the people to bid for it for quite some time but no one jumped at the chance. Instead, they all kept quiet and allowed their fellow farmers to take their land back. Eventually, the auctioneer was forced to accept the group’s decision, slammed the hammer down, and gave the father and son their farm back. And this time it is truly theirs.
How much of it was conformism and how much was kindness? We’ll likely never know. Either way, it’s an incredibly inspirational story.