Walt Disney gave his housekeeper Disney stocks every year for the holidays. She died a multi-millionaire.
If you know much about the growth of Disney since its inception, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Walt Disney’s housekeeper, Thelma Howard, died just short of 80 years old in 1994.
Her will revealed some surprising information. The first interesting tidbit was that she had a 9.5 million dollar fortune almost entirely from Disney stocks due to how much they had grown in her lifetime.
Half of that fortune ended up going to disadvantaged children in the Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation, which was created following her death. Her reasoning for that was due to her aunt, which had suffered much pain and tragedy. This gave her the decision to give something back to children.
Howard first started working for Walt Disney in 1951 as a live in housekeeper. She was the first that Disney’s children really adored. Walt Disney was so impressed the warm feeling that Howard gave to his children that he rewarded her with Disney stock every Christmas. Disney even called her "The Real Life Mary Poppins."