When something seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t true at all. The story of Karl Rabeder who was once a millionaire, is one of those stories. He had a nice house, fancy cars and he stayed in expensive, five star hotels. But one day, he decided to give it all up. Well, at least that’s what he claimed to do.
According to Karl, he was on a luxurious vacation with his wife in Hawaii, when he was suddenly overcome with a feeling of emptiness. He decided right then and there that he was going to give away all of his money and material possessions to charity. He wanted to live a simple life in a wooden hut in the mountains.
“My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing,” he said.
People all over lauded him for his selflessness. He became well-known and started to coach others, steering them towards less superficial lives. And yet, something seemed fishy. For example, instead of giving his house away, he raffled it off. He sold tickets for 99 euros and ended up collecting two million euros from selling the tickets, even though his house was only worth 500,000. Some thought this was an ingenious way to make money for charity, but others were skeptical.
‘All that glitters is not gold’ is a common English expression that means that not everything we hear or see is true or correct. Karl said he donated the proceeds to several non-profit organizations, but when the organizations were contacted they said they received very little support from him.
And when reporters went to visit Karl at his hut in the mountains, he was nowhere to be found. They reported later that the place was unlivable.
So what really happened here? Did Karl use a feel good story to dupe everyone, so that he could stir up publicity for a new business venture?
Further investigation revealed that he was deeply in debt before he’d decided to give away all of his things. And even though he’d sold his business, he was still making money by lecturing about his choice to give all of his money away. Ironically, he spoke and wrote a lot about how money can’t buy happiness.
In the end, Karl’s story is questionable, at best. But the message he preaches might be worth spreading. What do you think? Is Karl’s lie forgivable since his message could be good for humanity?