TIL despite his immense wealth, John D. Rockefeller always took the train from his mansion to his downtown New York...


TIL despite his immense wealth, John D. Rockefeller always took the train from his mansion to his downtown New York office every day. He was often harassed by beggars and other passengers, but refused to travel with bodyguards or use private transportation.



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  • From *John D. Rockefeller:
    Anointed with Oil* :

    >[Rockefeller] often skated in his dress clothes in the
    morning, then took a nickel ride downtown in an elevated train, jotting notes on the cuff of his shirt, jostling against
    the poor. He would continue traveling unguarded at times
    over the years despite growing threats, including a letter
    bomb intercepted on its way to him and defused.
    According to his son, Rockefeller said anyone who attacked
    him in person would suffer for it. He once grabbed a gun
    and chased a burglar.

    Rockefeller’s estimated net worth would be $300-400 billion in today’s dollars, making him likely the richest person in modern history.

  • The world’s 2nd richest man, Warren Buffett, drives himself to work, often hitting McDonald’s for breakfast on the 5-minute drive.

    He buys cars he can get at reduced prices, like those that were hail-damaged. The cars are fixed and don’t look hail-damaged.

    “You’ve got to understand, he keeps cars until I tell him, ‘This is getting embarrassing — time for a new car,’” said his daughter.

    Buffett is also known to eat cheap when he’s on the road. Buffett’s travel breakfast might consist of a pack of Oreos, his friend Bill Gates wrote on his blog.

    “One thing that was surprising to learn about Warren is that he has basically stuck to eating what he liked when he was 6 years old,” wrote Gates. “He mostly eats hamburgers, ice cream and Coke.”

    Billionaires live in mansions, right? Not Warren Buffett.

    He lives in the same Omaha residence he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Buffett has no intention of putting his own home up for sale. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said.

  • I’m not anywhere near being wealthy, yet I too am harassed by beggars & other passengers.

  • I guess the implication was that he was being thrifty, but in my head I’d imagine that back then the quickest commute between 56th street and the Standard Oil building was public transportation.

    Heck, a lot of times that’s still the case today.

  • Antoni Gaudi, renowned architect. was a very pious man and although he was wealthy he dressed very plainly and walked to work. One day he was struck by a tram and could have been saved if he were taken to a hospital but no one paid him any attention because he looked like a poor beggar. He slowly died on the street and never finished his masterpiece.

  • That was back when you could punch a beggar who got a little too close and not have to pay a multi-million dollar settlement for it.

  • Bruh, it’s cause my homie wasn’t just packin’ bills. He was packin’ heat, he could rock a fella.

  • Even billionaires today take the subway in NYC. There’s no stigma against public transportation here.

  • uhhhh… was there really any other option back then? he was 60 by the time it was 1900, which is still what like 15 years before the model T? He could have also gone by horse carriage, but that would have been hella slow. This just in, productive millionaire actually values his time.

    And I suspect the bodyguard thing is because he only would have made himself more of a target in a world where safety could never really be guaranteed to the extent it can be now

  • Drivers, cars, fuel, bodyguards all cost money. He didn’t get rich by spending it.

  • He refused to use private transportation….but didn’t he own the railroad he was riding on?

  • Just like one of the peasants :’)

  • George Bailey is the richest man I know.

  • Didn’t they have a train under their house?

  • what a humble man /s

  • At least he was a real one despite being fucked up

  • Rockefeller was also born in a log cabin.

  • At least he’s fearless. I wonder why no one kidnapped him. Nowadays, rich people are too scared, they have bodyguards and private planes.

  • It is often said that rich people don’t get rich by spending their money once they have it.

    IE: While you’ll see some rich people with sports cars, you’ll often see some with a 20 year old truck that’s far cheaper to maintain.

  • so what did you actually learn?

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