Ish Gamzu was Rabbi Akiva's rabbi for 22 years. He is called by this name because he always said the expression: "This is also for the good." (in Hebrew: ish gamzu = the man (who says) this is also [good]) And his student Rabbi Akiva also would say: "All that G‑d does is for the good." He was called by the title 'Ish Gamzu' - because whenever anything unpleasant happened to him, he would say 'Gam Zu le'Tovah'.

The Sages decided to send specifically Nachum Ish Gamzu to present the Emperor with a gift - because he was accustomed to miracles (they realized the possible hazards that faced a person on such a trip to Rome). The owners of one of the inn where he stayed overnight investigated his box whilst he slept. When they discovered the jewels and precious stones contained inside, they emptied it, and replaced its previous contents with earth from their garden.

Nachum Ish Gamzu thus arrived at the Emperor's palace with a box full of earth...

Nachum Ish Gamzu thus arrived at the Emperor's palace with a box full of earth, not the precious gift fit for a king with which he had set out. When the Emperor opened the box, he had Nachum Ish Gamzu imprisoned. Nachum accepted this with his usual 'Gam Zu le'Tovah'.

A miracle occurred, in the form of a visit from Eliyahu the Prophet, who suggested to the Emperor that this might be special earth from Abraham the father of the Jews, who, during the battle against the four kings, threw earth at them which turned into swords and straw which turned into arrows. When the Emperor tried it out on an enemy whom he had hitherto found invincible, and routed them, he set Nachum Ish Gamzu free, filled the box again with jewels and precious stones and sent him home with great honor.

When the owners of the inn realized what had happened - they demolished their house and brought the dust to the Emperor as a gift (thinking that all the earth on their property was special 'miracle earth'). But of course, nothing happened with the earth that they brought, and the Emperor had them killed for mocking him.
...the man died before he had received help.
Once, when he was traveling to his father-in-law's house with camel-loads of good things, he was too slow in providing a poor man who approached him for help. Perhaps he should have jumped off the camel to help him, perhaps he should have torn open the sacks of food or perhaps he should not have told him to wait until he unloaded the sacks. In any case, the man died before he had received help.

Nachum Ish Gamzu then decreed that his eyes that did not have pity on the poor man's eyes, should go blind; his hands that did not have pity on the poor man's hands, should be cut off; his feet that did not have pity on the poor man's feet, should be cut off. He was not satisfied until he added that his whole body should be covered in boils.

After this all came to pass, the legs of his bed were placed in bowls of water - because in addition to being bed-ridden, he would have been unable to remove the ants that would otherwise have crawled over his body, as his hands had been cut off. When his disciples said in anguish 'Woe to us that we see you in this state!' - he replied 'Woe to me if you would not see me in this state'! When his disciples planned to take his bed out of the rickety apartment first and the vessels afterwards - he instructed them to reverse the order, because he knew that, as long as he was in the house, it would not collapse.