HUFFINGTON POST

Elderly Man Schools Europe In Generosity By Donating His Meager Pension To Greece

Pensioners wait outside a national bank brunch, as banks only opened for pensioners to allow them to get their pensions, with
Pensioners wait outside a national bank brunch, as banks only opened for pensioners to allow them to get their pensions, with a limit of 120 euros, in Athens on July 2, 2015. Greece's left-wing government 'may very well' resign if a referendum this weekend on bailout conditions results in a 'Yes' vote, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a radio interview Thursday. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

An elderly pensioner in Cyprus has a lesson in generosity for the rest of Europe.

He may not have deep pockets, but 88-year-old Onoufrios Michaelides was so moved by the sight of fellow pensioners lining up outside Greek banks that he decided to donate his monthly pension to help people in the country.

Michaelides sent his 506 euro ($555) pension to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, along with a letter expressing "appreciation of your tireless but also heroic efforts to preserve and secure the honor and dignity of the Greek people," Agence France Presse reported.

The Greek Cypriot told the news agency in the coastal city of Limassol that Tsipras' aides had called him to thank him for the gift.

"It is not a large sum, but the Greek government can utilize it where they are more needed, to orphans, or to poor families," Michaelides told local press in Cyprus. "I hope this deed will be a motive for others who have more than me and could help the Greek people."

Greece is on the brink of economic collapse amid a standoff between international creditors and Tsipras' government on the terms of a new bailout deal. Greece's European creditors are pushing for further economic and labor reforms in exchange for fresh financing, but the Greek government says the country has already been stretched to a breaking point by the austerity measures imposed by previous bailouts.

The crisis has left ordinary Greeks struggling to get by: banks are closed, withdrawals are capped at 60 euros a day, and food and drug shortages have been reported. Elderly Greeks who don't have ATM cards flooded banks last week to pick up a one-time payment of 120 euros ($132), with the desperate scenes throwing Greece's plight into sharp focus.

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • Electoral workers prepare ballot boxes in a warehouse in Thessaloniki, Greece, on July 2, 2015, ahead of Sunday's economic re
    AFP/Getty Images/Sakis Mitrolidis
    Electoral workers prepare ballot boxes in a warehouse in Thessaloniki, Greece, on July 2, 2015, ahead of Sunday's economic referendum.
  • Municipal workers carry ballot boxes into a warehouse in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015, in preparation for the upcoming ref
    AFP/Getty Images/Angelos Tzortzinis
    Municipal workers carry ballot boxes into a warehouse in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015, in preparation for the upcoming referendum.
  • Ballot boxes for the upcoming referendum are stored in a warehouse in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Angelos Tzortzinis
    Ballot boxes for the upcoming referendum are stored in a warehouse in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015.
  • Municipal workers carry ballot boxes into a warehouse in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015, in preparation for the upcoming ref
    AFP/Getty Images/Angelos Tzortzinis
    Municipal workers carry ballot boxes into a warehouse in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015, in preparation for the upcoming referendum.
  • Electoral workers prepare ballot boxes in a warehouse in Thessaloniki, Greece, on July 2, 2015, ahead of the upcoming referen
    AFP/Getty Images/Sakis Mitrolidis
    Electoral workers prepare ballot boxes in a warehouse in Thessaloniki, Greece, on July 2, 2015, ahead of the upcoming referendum.
  • Municipal workers store booths in a warehouse in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015, in preparation for the upcoming referendum.
    AFP/Getty Images/Angelos Tzortzinis
    Municipal workers store booths in a warehouse in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015, in preparation for the upcoming referendum.
  • Youths chant slogans supporting the "no" vote for the upcoming referendum in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Youths chant slogans supporting the "no" vote for the upcoming referendum in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015.
  • A man passes out a leaflet reading in Greek "Vote NO in the referendum, Down with the EU" in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015
    AP Photo/Petros Karadjias
    A man passes out a leaflet reading in Greek "Vote NO in the referendum, Down with the EU" in Athens, Greece, on July 2, 2015
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