Donelan says he was struck by how beautiful the lower class looked as they passed by him on the way to their second jobs.

DARIEN, CT—Admitting that his affection for their gauche and boorish ways had surprised even himself, prominent socialite J. Thomas Donelan III confirmed Wednesday that he was falling for the nation’s unrefined but beautiful lower classes.

Donelan, an industrialist and avid patron of the arts whose net worth is estimated at $8.6 billion, told reporters that while at first he was repulsed by lower-income Americans’ fashion sense, eating habits, speech, and pedestrian interests, their simple charms had gradually turned his disdain into fondness, and then, finally, into something closer to love.

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“For a long time, I looked down on ordinary people, with their uncultivated tastes for malt beverages and stock car racing, but one day, something about them just caught my eye,” Donelan said as he recalled an incident not long ago when his chauffeur took a wrong exit off the freeway, accidentally driving the 59-year-old heir through a working-class neighborhood he had never seen before, where he was reportedly taken aback by the humble beauty underneath residents’ Quiznos uniforms and Juicy Couture sweatpants. “As I looked at them, I felt strangely drawn to them, despite their poorly groomed exteriors and lack of sophistication.”

“I can’t say why—maybe it was the twinkle in their eyes as they watched fail videos on their phones, or just the way they stood there at their bus stops—but at that moment, I just knew I had to see them again,” he added.

Soon finding himself “quite taken” with the population of Americans making less than $10 per hour, Donelan reportedly became convinced that with some work, he could turn them into something presentable to society, perhaps even one day flying them out to meet and mingle with his fellow upper-class citizens at a gala fundraiser in the Hamptons or accompanying them to an exclusive soiree in the south of France.

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Brushing aside doubts from his friends and business associates, Donelan said he began by trying to make poorer Americans’ appearances “a little more pleasing to the eye.” On trips to bespoke tailors and high-end boutiques, he had their wardrobes of football jerseys, calf-length mesh shorts, Crocs, and stretch pants replaced with trunks full of designer garments and top-of-the-line accessories.

According to sources, the multibillionaire coached the nation’s bottom third of earners on their diction, and ultimately hoped to elevate their conversational skills to the point where they would no longer routinely use the phrase “cray cray” or quote lines from Anchorman 2 when meeting members of his social circle.

“Getting 70 million people to stop wiping their hands on their pants was an enormous test of patience,” said Donelan, recalling how difficult it was to instill even the most basic fundamentals of dining etiquette among those American households living on incomes of $42,000 or less per year. “I finally resorted to withholding their beloved BK Chicken Fries until they learned how to sit properly and make regular use of a napkin.”

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“But eventually, I discovered that aside from their orange cheese flavoring–coated fingers, there was really something quite endearing about them,” he continued. “That’s when it occurred to me that if poor people could learn to appreciate my culture and culinary preferences, then perhaps I could enjoy their Kid Rock albums and hot wings.”

Much to his amazement, Donelan said, he discovered he had an affinity for some of their favorite pastimes. Together, he and the nation’s poor but charming segment of American society have been seen playing scratch-off lotto tickets and visiting local Circle Ks, and these days, Donelan freely admits he has even become familiar with the names of several well-regarded WWE wrestlers.

“I’ve been doing more cooking with the microwave lately, and I’ve come to appreciate—even enjoy—eating a warmed-over meal on a sofa in front of this so-called ‘Maury,’” Donelan said. “I guess you could say my newfound love for the lower classes has helped me to learn something about myself.”

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“Namely, that I can feel a deep affection for those less fortunate than myself,” he added. “As long as they don’t ask for any handouts, stay politically unrepresented, and take mandatory drug tests.”