The man who just can't give his money away
SEVENTEEN cars and one electric wheelchair later, Gympie's ever-dynamic real estate enthusiast John Cochrane says he just can't get anyone to take his money.
He is talking about the $250,000 he and his wife Margaret have had on offer for more than eight years, as a prize in the annual client draw for their real estate businesses, Gympie Regional Realty and Noosa Regional Realty.
They give away a guaranteed two cars a year, but the $250,000 is an extra prize that has not gone off yet.
"I wish someone would take it,” Mr Cochrane said, after giving away another Hyundai from his mates just down the road at Gympie's Pacific Hyundai.
And he assures us he means it.
"Imagine if someone walked out of here with quarter of a million dollars,” he said at this year's draw. "It'd change yoru life wouldn't it?”
Of 400 people eligible to be in the draw about 250 people turned up with high hopes to witness the event at Pacific Hyundai's Bruce Hwy headquarters, where salesman Chris Gablonski performed the draw.
"If you list your house with us exclusively, or buy a house through us exclusively, you can be in the draw,” Mr Cochrane said.
And as official witness Graham Engeman explained, anyone whose entry came out in the first draw would win a car, guaranteed.
Then they would go into a second draw, this time conducted by the winner of the first draw.
"And somewhere in there is an envelope with a piece of paper in it that says you've won $250,000,” he told the crowd.
"No pressure,” called out one supporter of the first draw winner, David Rose.
"I've got nothing up my sleeves and I've never been good at magic tricks,” Mr Engeman said as he mixed up the entries, adding that as a JP it was his job to ensure everything was done correctly.
"It's a serious business when you're giving away a motor car and possibly a quarter of a million dollars,” he said.
David Rose took it all in his stride, in an ear-to-ear grin sort of way, and his party of supporters, including his butcher, Rod Harris, of Cooroy, were ecstatic.
"You must have given away at least 16 or 18 cars,” one attendee remarked.
"Seventeen cars and one electric wheelchair,” Mr Cochrane said.
"We had a client from Imbil and he said he couldn't get to the draw because he was in a wheelchair. And he couldn't drive.
"So I told him he was still in it and went and got him.
"He came in and he won.
"He traded the car in on a wheelchair and everyone was happy,” he said.
"He's been my customer for 30 years,” Mr Harris said.
But Mr Rose was unable to claim the big $250,000 prize, which remained somewhere in the basket.
"Yes, I've still got the 250 grand,” Mr Cochrane said. I really do wish I could give it away.”
No doubt customers will be wishing him better luck next year.