Happy birthday, Mennie!

Mennie Person and her Cadillac

At about 9:30 p.m., July 27, 1975, 33-year-old bank teller Mennie Person was walking by a car dealership called Madison Cadillac when she spotted a unique, custom-made, Cadillac parked on the lot.

She and her husband, Troy, were Cadillac fans. They owned a 1974 model and were familiar with the 1975 models, but this one was unlike anything she had ever seen.

She was not in the market to buy a new Cadillac, she and Troy were still paying on the one they had, but she just had to get a closer look. What would it hurt?

Mennie got closer to the car and noticed that one of the windows was lowered. She stuck her head in and was admiring the car when someone walked up to her from out of the back parking lot. The man asked her if she liked the Cadillac, and she said she liked it very much. The man thanked her and said, “That one’s mine, but I’ll buy you one.”

Mennie’s mouth fell open. She said she and her husband already had a Cadillac and would not be able to pay for a second one. He explained that he was paying for the car. It was to be his gift to her. Mennie was in shock.

The man gently took Mennie by the arm and escorted her to the back parking lot from which he came. Dozens of brand-new shiny Cadillacs sat waiting for their new homes. Mennie and the man looked at the different models for just a few minutes. The man turned to Mennie and told her to “pick one out.”

Mennie was still in a state of shock. Why would a man she had never met buy her a brand-new Cadillac. The man patiently waited as Mennie selected a gold and white Cadillac Eldorado. It listed for about $11,500, which, adjusted for inflation, is just under $50,000 in today’s money. The man motioned for someone to bring him the keys.

Mennie, still in shock, made small talk with the man. She thanked him several times and told him that the car was a wonderful birthday present. Her birthday was just two days away.

Within just a few moments, the man handed Mennie the keys to her brand-new Cadillac and wished her a happy birthday. The man assured her that all of the paperwork would be taken care of for her. Since her birthday was coming up, the man handed her a check for an undisclosed amount “to buy some clothes to go with the car.”

When Mennie mentioned again that she and her husband already owned a Cadillac, the man told her to keep it or to give it to her husband. She could do whatever she wanted with either Cadillac.

As Mennie provided the necessary information to the dealership to have the vehicle titled in her name, she thought it was too good to be true. If it was true, would anyone believe her?

Mennie had never met the generous man who bought her a brand-new Cadillac of her choice, wrote her a check to buy new clothes to go with it, and wished her a happy birthday, but she certainly knew of him. Everyone, it seemed, knew of him. Mennie did not need to worry if anyone would believe her.

On her birthday, newspapers around the world shared the story of how Mennie just happened to be in the right place at the right time to receive the generosity of a king. His name was Elvis Presley.

Sources:

1. The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), July 29, 1975, p.2.

2. Tucson Citizen, July 29, 1975, p.1.

3. The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee), July 29, 1975, p.29.

For more real stories about real people with a twist, order your copy of “Remember This?” at Amazon.com or listen to his podcast “Brad Dison’s Remember This?” Brad earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with Brad’s column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.”

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