Bill Smith, 81, has been mistaken for dead.
But it’s nothing new for the North Texas resident.
A similar thing happened when he was stationed in Korea and got “mixed up with another guy that was William Earl Smith,” he told KDFW-TV in Dallas.
Except this time the congenial man who lives in a trailer community in Sanger — about an hour north of Dallas — with his dog Mr. Baxter and beloved birds and roses is dealing with a bigger problem.
The bank apparently learned of his “death” and returned his social security check.
Smith got the disturbing news on Christmas Day when Meals on Wheels workers told him that they’d learned he was dead from reading an obituary.
“She kept looking and said directly, ‘Oh, oh! You’re on here deceased,’” Smith told KDFW, adding that “it was a little bit of a shock, but I knew I was still walking around.”
Almost missing a meal wasn’t nearly as hard as finding out that his social security check had been returned, a snafu Smith called “kinda messed up.”
Neighbor Ray Deborde, glad the Smith isn’t dead, couldn’t agree more: “The government can mess up something in five minutes and take ‘em six months to fix it, you know, if they ever fix it,” he told KDFW.
As it happens, Smith comes from a long line of Earls, and this second case of mistaken-for-dead occurred partly because he was confused with a man who shared his first, middle and last names.
“He was actually William Earl Smith,” Smith told KDFW. “Mine’s William Earl Smith, my dad was Earl Smith, and his dad was Earl Smith.”
Of the maddening turn of events, Smith is decidedly philosophical, adding with a laugh, “You never know what’s gonna happen next.”