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'World's Poorest President' Stops His Car To Give Hitchhiker A Ride

Uruguay's President Jose Mujica gives the thumb up as he leaves after delivering a press conference to present a US' Departme
Uruguay's President Jose Mujica gives the thumb up as he leaves after delivering a press conference to present a US' Department of State document with information about the former Guantamano prisoners who recently arrived in Uruguay, on December 16, 2014. According to the document, 'there is no information that (the six former inmates) were involved in conducting or faciliting terrorist activities against the United States or its partners or allies'. AFP PHOTO / PABLO PORCIUNCULA (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images)

A hitchhiker was caught off-guard when a world leader offered to give him a lift.

Gerhald Acosta was looking for a ride on his way home from his job at a paper mill plant in southwestern Uruguay, earlier this month. He later explained in a Facebook post that though several cars passed him, an SUV with a government license plate pulled over, according to RT.com. Upon getting inside, Acosta realized that Uruguayan President Jose Mujica and his wife, Sen. Lucia Topolansky, were in the vehicle.

"I know this woman. It was Lucia, with Manuela the dog, and Pepe (Jose) in the front seat," Acosta told El Observador, according to Fox News Latino. "I couldn't believe it. The president was giving me a ride."

The president and his wife had been on their way to their residence when they picked Acosta up, according to El Observador. The hitchhiker said that Mujica was concerned about why Acosta, who had to return home unexpectedly, needed a ride.

Acosta said that though the ride was a brief one, he was moved by the couple's gesture.

"When I got out, I thanked them profusely because not everyone helps someone out on the road, and much less a president," he told El Observador.

While Mujica's decision to pick up the hitchhiker was a kind one, the leader is widely known for his acts of compassion. During a television interview in Montevideo last November, Mujica paused to give money to a man in need.

The leader has even been nicknamed "the world's poorest president," thanks to his decision to donate 90 percent of his salary to charity. When speaking about the money he actually keeps, Mujica told El Mundo, according to Univision's translation, "I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less."

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • 1 Because he legalized marijuana sales
    Uruguay's trailblazing president <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/uruguay-legalizes-marijua_n_4415245" target="_blank"
    Facebook
    Uruguay's trailblazing president signed legislation last year creating the world's first national, government-regulated marijuana market.

    Mujica championed the idea, saying that it would wrest power away from drug cartels and allow the government to focus on the issue as a public health matter rather than a criminal one.

    "We ask the world to help us create this experience," Mujica told Brazilian daily A Folha de São Paulo last year. "It will allow us to adopt a socio-political experiment to address the serious problem of drug trafficking... the effect of the drug traffic is worse than the drug."
  • 2 And he legalized gay marriage
    Though best-known for legalizing weed, <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/uruguay-legalizes-gay-marriage_n_3057458" targ
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Though best-known for legalizing weed, Mujica also presided over Uruguay's legalizing of same-sex marriage in 2013. Uruguay was the 12th country in the world to do so.
  • 3 Because he's actually a public servant
    Dubbed the "world's poorest president" by the BBC, Mujica donates <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fifa-sons-of-bitche
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Dubbed the "world's poorest president" by the BBC, Mujica donates 90 percent of his salary to charity and lives a modest life. How many U.S. politicians, who claim to serve the public, can say the same?
  • 4 Because he wore sandals to state functions
    That's Mujica on Dec. 26, 2013, at the <a href="http://www.clarin.com/mundo/Pepe-Mujica-sandalias-ministro-Economia_0_1054694
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    That's Mujica on Dec. 26, 2013, at the swearing in ceremony for his new finance minister, Mario Bergara.
  • 5 Because he hates neckties for all the right reasons
    Mujica's lack of formality isn't limited to footwear. In an interview with Spanish journalist Jordi Evole, Mujica raged again
    Getty Images
    Mujica's lack of formality isn't limited to footwear. In an interview with Spanish journalist Jordi Evole, Mujica raged against the necktie, calling it a symbolism of consumerism. "The tie is a useless rag that constrains your neck," Mujica said. "I'm an enemy of consumerism. Because of this hyperconsumerism, we're forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness."
  • 6 Because he was so awesomely quotable
    A self-proclaimed "campesino with common sense," Mujica has a way of <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mujica-quotes_n_
    A self-proclaimed "campesino with common sense," Mujica has a way of spouting off the kind of philosophical nuggets you want to post on your refrigerator.
  • 7 Because he drives a Volkswagen Beetle even though he could afford something way better
    An Arab sheik offered Mujica $1 million for his 1987 Beetle. <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/uruguays-president-beetl
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An Arab sheik offered Mujica $1 million for his 1987 Beetle. Mujica turned the offer down.

    "We could never sell it," Mujica said in November. "We would offend all those friends who pooled together to buy it for us."
  • 8 Because he rocks
    Aerosmith met up with Mujica in 2013, offering an autographed guitar as a gift. Mujica put the guitar up for auction to raise
    AP
    Aerosmith met up with Mujica in 2013, offering an autographed guitar as a gift. Mujica put the guitar up for auction to raise money to build housing.

    “It’s signed by all of them and that surely has a lot of value,” Mujica said, noting that he’s not much of a guitar player. “That instrument must have been invented by an anarchist who was also drunk, because it’s very difficult.”
  • 9 Because he lives on a farm, instead of a mansion
    Uruguay's president says he likes to keep his life simple so he can enjoy the things he likes to do, like working on his flow
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Uruguay's president says he likes to keep his life simple so he can enjoy the things he likes to do, like working on his flower farm. He continues to live there, without servants rather than the presidential palace.

    "I've lived like this most of my life," Mujica told the BBC in 2012. "I can live well with what I have."
  • 10 ...With his three-legged dog, Manuela
    Which is sweet.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Which is sweet.
  • 11 Because his wife is also a badass
    In the words of journalist Will Carless, writing for the Global Post, <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/politi
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In the words of journalist Will Carless, writing for the Global Post, Mujica's wife Lucía Topolansky is a "senator, ex-guerrilla, prison escapee, torture survivor, blonde-bombshell-turned-wild-haired, farm-living, hard-as-nails first lady."
  • 12 Because he gave the U.N. a piece of his mind
    When the president of the International Narcotics Control Board, a U.N. agency, accused Uruguay of refusing to meet with the
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    When the president of the International Narcotics Control Board, a U.N. agency, accused Uruguay of refusing to meet with the board's officials before legalizing weed, Mujica didn't mince his words.

    "Tell this old guy not to lie," Mujica told reporters, referring to INCB president Raymond Yans. "Any guy in the street can meet with me. Let him come to Uruguay and meet with me whenever he wants... He thinks because he's in an international position, he can tell whatever lie he wants."

    For its part, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime criticized Uruguay for legalizing the marijuana trade, while heaping praise on anti-drug efforts in Iran -- a country that executes drug dealers.
  • 13 Not to mention the 'bunch of old sons of bitches' at the FIFA
    Asked by a television reporter how he felt about the FIFA's expulsion of Uruguayan star striker Luis Suárez for biting, Mujica gave an unfiltered response.

    "The FIFA is a bunch of old sons of bitches," Mujica said, then clasping his hand over his mouth as if the words had accidentally slipped out.

    Unsure whether to broadcast the comments, sports journalist Sergio Gorzy asked if Mujica for permission.

    "If it's up to me, publish it," Mujica said.
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