56-year-old George Kuscinkas had been down on his luck since he emigrated from Lithuania to the United States back in 1915. Fast forward to March 16, 1950, and we find George unemployed and living in a flophouse in the Bowery.
While visiting a poolroom on East Tenth Street that morning, a man asked him if he wanted to make some money. All George needed to do was push a cart and deliver a load of art supplies. He agreed, was handed a slip of paper with the address on it, and off he went.
He started out at 11:30 that morning but never arrived at his destination. The shipper, Philip Birn of the S. Rood Company contacted the police to report that both the courier and the goods were missing.
George was finally located by a detective early the next morning. Believe it or not, he was still pushing his cart.
He had zigged and zagged all over the city showing person after person the slip of paper that had the address on it. It was estimated that George had pushed the 630-pound (286-kg) cart approximately 13-miles (21 km) in total.
Confused, he stopped that detective at 3 AM and showed him the slip of paper. It read, “Morilla Co., 328 East 234 St.’ The officer called in and found out that an alarm had been issued to locate George. That’s when it was realized that everyone had been misreading the handwritten address. It read as East 234 Street but really said East 23rd Street.
George and the missing supplies were transported back to their intended destination and the whole matter was cleared up. Mr. Birn rewarded George with $25 for his efforts (approximately $250 today) and the press chipped in to give him an additional $5.
He planned to use the money to get a shave, a haircut, and to “sit down for awhile.”