The Duck Who Never Was is a special Donald Duck comic story written by Don Rosa in 1994 to celebrate Donald's 60th birthday. It debuted in the Anaders And & Co. issue for the week of June 9, 1994, and had its first American printing in issue #286 of Donald Duck. The plot is based off of that of the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life.
Donald heads off to apply for a job as a museum janitor, feeling like he's the most worthless person in Duckburg after seeing that Huey, Dewey and Louie seem to have forgotten that it's his birthday. Right after Donald applies for the job, the curator misreads the form and, thinking that Donald is 60 years old, immediately makes him retire from the position. Donald then accidentally causes an urn to drop on him. When he comes to, he meets a birthday genie, who says that he grants wishes to anyone who touches the urn on their birthday. Donald refuses to believe that and walks off, muttering "Sometimes I wish I'd never been born!" Upon hearing that, the genie immediately grants that wish, but Donald doesn't believe it happened.
When Donald heads outside, he finds himself in a ruined Duckburg, and his car is missing. He sees Grandma Duck's car nearby and tries to get a lift to the police station, but to his surprise, he finds that Gyro is driving it, saying he bought Grandma Duck's farm years ago. Gyro explains that he lost his genius intellect as a result of getting zapped by one of his Think Boxes (from "The Think Box Bollix"), and also, his Little Helper has died. Donald, still not believing what's happened, goes to what he thinks is Scrooge's Money Bin, but finds that it is now a printing plant, where Grandma Duck is working as a secretary. She explains to Donald that Daisy has become a wealthy novelist who writes romance novels to fill the lonely life she has in this reality. After seeing how miserable Daisy is without him, Donald finally realizes he really has been thrown into an alternate reality where he was never born.
Donald then finds a thin Gus standing by some garbage cans. In this reality, Gus was the only relative Scrooge had who worked for him, but on his first day on the job, he foolishly gave the Number One Dime to Magica De Spell, and she was able to melt the dime into her amulet before Scrooge could stop her. Scrooge's spirit was so broken by the loss of his dime that Flintheart Glomgold tricked him with a crooked business deal and took all of Scrooge's money and businesses, and thus Scrooge is now stuck living on the streets.
Donald heads for Gladstone Gander's house, hoping to find that Gladstone is as miserable as everyone else in this reality. However, he finds Huey, Dewey and Louie live with Gladstone, and in this reality, they are fat little ducklings who are not Junior Woodchucks and instead do nothing but watch TV and eat potato chips. Gladstone then turns up, and to Donald's dismay, he's actually as lucky here as he is in the original reality. Donald then goes outside and runs into the Beagle Boys, who have become police officers because Scrooge lost his fortune.
With that, Donald steals Gladstone's car, drives back to the museum, and finds the birthday genie's urn. After some more arguing over how the genie thing is supposed to work, the genie finally grants Donald's wish to return things to normal. Donald awakens back in the normal reality and is ecstatic to find Duckburg is back to the way he knows and loves. Upon returning home, he finds his whole family throwing a surprise birthday party for him, with Huey, Dewey and Louie saying they'd only pretended to forget his birthday at the beginning. Then the curator shows up, saying he made a mistake in making Donald retire from his job so early, because the museum's retirement age is actually 65.