One man was just trying to politely support his coworker's charity by donating $150 to help impoverished children in Bangladesh. He hit the wrong key, sending the charity $15,041. He panicked and realized he would have to find some way to get his money back. Before he could, he was a hero to the charity and being lauded for his generosity. When he shared his story with the Reddit community, there was a heartwarming outpour of financial support that the charity could never have expected. Links to prove it too! Sometimes, the world can be a pretty loving place.
This happened in February of last year, but my friends have been telling me I need to post this story online … so here goes nothing:
My wife and I (both 31 years old, at the time) moved into a new three-unit apartment building in San Francisco. One of our neighbors is a 70-something year old retired veteran, we’ll call him Joe. For context, Joe is a white American guy and he’s also a devout Hindu priest.
One day I run into Joe in my hallway, and he tells me about this charity he manages for a community in Bangladesh. I wanted to support my neighbor and the charity, so I ask Joe to send me the GoFundMe link.
The next day at work, I go on the GoFundMe page and donate $150. Or so I thought. Moments later, I get a text on my phone warning me of an unusually large transaction on my credit card. I’m confused and swipe to open the text message. It says I have made a payment of $15,041 to GoFundMe.
Immediately I’m sweating. How could I have donated FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS? I spend the next 10-15 minutes retracing my steps, and finally I realize my credit card starts with the numbers 4 and 1. It seems I had accidentally started typing my credit card information while my cursor was still in the donation box, and just like that 150 became 15041. Yikes.
I call GoFundMe’s support line in a panic, and when I finally connect with a human I explain what happened. “No need to worry”, he tells me, they will initiate a refund of the transaction which should process in 3-7 business days.
That’s a huge relief. But then I ask the agent if the charity will be able to see the donation on the GoFundMe page until it is refunded. “What do you mean?” the agent asks me. “What do YOU mean what do I mean?” was my response. “Will they be able to see the $15,041 donation?!”
Unfortunately, yes, the agent tells me. They will be able to see it until the refund process is complete. I tell him that’s a big problem, as the entire GoFundMe had hardly raised that much at that point. Surely they will notice their fundraiser doubling overnight?
My plan was to knock on Joe’s door the following morning to give him the full story, so that he could pass it along to his contacts in Bangladesh. But when I woke up the next morning, I looked at my phone and saw I had 40+ notifications on Facebook.
Someone had sent me a friend request, had liked many of my old posts, and had sent me many messages. Immediately I was concerned when I saw that the individual messaging me had a Hindu name, but I never could have imagined what I saw when I opened his first message…
The man had sent me a video of himself from Bangladesh, surrounded by dozens of impoverished and hungry people holding bags of food, thanking me BY NAME (Michael) for my generous donation. A big round of applause for Michael.
At this point, I’ve leaped out of my bed and I’m pacing. Part of me wants to scream, part of me wants to crack up laughing. I start swiping through the man’s messages, and it is picture after picture after picture of poor Bangladeshis thanking me for my kind donation.
Literally hundreds of photos of frail, elderly, disabled, and malnourished individuals holding signs with my name. Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Michael. I've uploaded a portion of the video, and a few photos, for you guys to see here: https://imgur.com/gallery/tROXniV
Needless to say, I couldn’t live with myself just donating $150 after seeing how the community responded to the $15,041. I decided the least I could do was to add a zero, and so I donated $1,500 once the original donation was refunded.
The charity’s host was incredibly gracious and understanding, and he explained to me that $1,500 goes very far in Bangladesh for urgent food relief. Here is the charity’s new GoFundMe link if you want to check it out: https://www.gofundme.com/f/urgent-food-relief-assistance-in-bangladesh
Ultimately I think the whole experience was a win-win. I helped a great cause, and I got a funny story out of it.
Damn Kent Putnam single handily funding that charity
Best post on here in AGES. Thank you for the great story and for helping out those folks. $1,500 is still very generous. Man, this got me good. I hope you didn’t get behind on bills or anything after this mix up.
Oh man what a ride, I’d feel horrible. I hope Reddit comes through and helps. I’ll throw in a few bucks and maybe others will too!
And $1,500 is nothing compared to what they're gonna get on that GFM, lol. He's already long since doubled that $1,500, and I'm sure it will be going for a while. This has only been up for 4 hours.
Holy Sh*t Man! That put a pit in my stomach just reading. I cant imagine how you felt. LOL. Sh*t happens! Glad your neighbor was understanding and good for you for going the extra mile. Watch this post blow up and a sh*t ton of Redditors donate. That would be awesome.
Last week, I posted one of my life's most embarrassing stories on TIFU, about the typo that caused me to donate $15,041 to a Bangladesh charity instead of the $150 donation I intended.
At the time of my Reddit post, the charity’s latest campaign had approximately $12,500 from 26 total donations. My neighbor, the organizer of the charity, had told me the charity was running on fumes and looking to cancel some of its programs.
Of course I had hoped some Redditors might read my story and decide to help the charity, but I NEVER could have expected the overwhelming reaction nor the incredible generosity of the Reddit community.
“Watch this post blow up, and a sh*t ton of Redditors donate” was one of the first comments the post received on Reddit. And that is exactly what happened. Over Memorial Day Weekend, the charity raised over $55,000 from over 2,100 new donations.
On Saturday, I had to explain Reddit to my 77-year-old neighbor and to the charity’s team leader in Bangladesh (he called it Rebbit, as you can see in my pics). They were absolutely blown away by the reaction – truly they view it as a miracle. I received the following message from my neighbor:
“Without a doubt, this is the biggest wave of support to arrive since we started! Doors that were closed can now be opened. Plans that were parked can now be put in motion. There is much we can now accomplish.
All due to your idea to post (in a funny way) on what happened a while ago. Abundant resources require an equal level of responsibility. No less. I am committed to see that these funds are applied carefully and continue to make a difference to those who need it most.”
Sometimes things just seem to work out for a reason. One Reddit donor commented, “Michael may have screwed up his donation, but hopefully his TIFU on Reddit has fixed that somewhat.” Thanks to Reddit, the Bangladesh community will receive roughly 4x the amount of the original donation I had refunded.
EDIT: Holy cow someone just donated $5,000! Thank you, Anonymous!! Hopefully you didn’t mean to donate $500… it could happen to anyone. Charity link in comments and original post, if anyone else is interested!
PHOTO Updates: https://imgur.com/a/8Rv1LoZ (I assume the first of many photos to come in the following months)
This is definitely an 'everybody wins' story.
This has brought tears to my eyes. I’m from Bangladesh and know first-hand how this donation can change lives. Thank you!
As of 5:40 EST the Gofundme is at $69,350 if someone donates $70 it will be the Redditist donation ever to have Reddited.
I was watching this post blow up all weekend with the biggest smile on my face. It was me that posted first about hoping the Reddit family would donate. You rock and so thrilled these people can get some assistance. People are still good at heart! Love you bro. I'm glad I could help with my suggestion and some money to the cause.