Ways to Save Money

This College Student Just Paid Off His Grandparents’ Mortgage

Updated April 1, 2016
by Susan Shain
Senior Writer
Mortgage payment

Most of us love our grandparents.

But few of us have the dedication required to pay off their entire mortgage.

One notable exception? Stefun Darts, a 24-year-old San Jacinto College student in Pasadena, Texas.

On March 20, he posted a photo of himself handing his grandparents a check for $15,000 — enough to pay off their entire mortgage.

Oh, and he also gave them a pair of plane tickets to the Bahamas.

Pure aww.

Here’s how he did it — and why.

This Guy Puts All Other Grandkids to Shame

So what inspired Darts to do it? A promise he made nearly two decades ago.

“I promised God in the second grade I would pay off you guys [sic] house and help you retire,” he wrote on Facebook. “A promise I would never break.”

“Even with this, I could never repay you for what you’ve done for me…  Take this check and pay your house off, and retire from work.”

“My grandparents basically raised me,” Darts told me in a phone interview.

He also lives with them now — one of the ways he was able to save $15,000 in six years.

“It’s the least I can do,” he said. “Many people don’t have their grandparents. I’d rather cherish them while they’re here than live with regret.”

In addition to being a full-time student, Darts works 40 hours per week as a material handler for Exxon Mobile, and part-time as a mortgage loan originator. He also runs a nonprofit called Caring Heart Youth.

Yes, he does all that. No, I’m not sure he’s human.

When I asked him if he slept, he replied, “not really.” He said he functions fine with three or four hours of sleep each night.

“I don’t know if it’s abnormal,” he said. “I just don’t sleep that long; I think the last time I slept eight hours I was like in seventh grade.”

But his insane work ethic wouldn’t have been enough on its own. To fulfill his promise, he also dedicated himself to frugality.

“I’ve been eating pizza, microwave pizza for all my life,” he told KHOU. “My friends will tell you I never did go out. They didn’t know, but this was the reason why.”

Some readers might assume Darts was motivated by a desire to eventually inherit the house, or get publicity for his nonprofit — but honestly, who cares?

It was a beautiful gesture that could inspire others to pay it forward.

Darts told me he hasn’t faced any local negative reactions.

“My character speaks for me,” he said. “I don’t have to deal with those problems.”

As for Internet trolls, he’s not worried about them either.

“People are gonna say stuff over the Internet, but that’s just life,” he said.

And, if you’re not moved by what he wrote on Facebook, you can just go take your skeptic soul somewhere else…

As the saying goes, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched… they must be felt with the heart.”

Your Turn: Are you moved by this story?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

by Susan Shain
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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