Man shares epic story of accidentally donating $15K to charity and it blows up online
Sometimes life plays out just like a sitcom.
This is certainly the case for a California resident named Michael who goes byu/lazybear90 on Reddit. On May 26, Michael detailed an epic donation-to-charity fail to the r/TIFU subreddit, and it’s almost too far-fetched to believe, and definitely too funny not to share.
So the story goes: Michael had just moved into a new three-unit apartment building in San Francisco with his wife. Their neighbor, nicknamed “Joe” for the story, was a 70-something year old retired veteran and devout Hindu priest.
Wanting to support his new neighbor, Michael generously agreed to donate $150 to a community in Bangladesh through GoFundMe.
What a nice gesture. Except for one not-so-tiny issue. Michael donated $15,000 instead.
“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?” he wrote on Reddit.
After retracing his steps, Michael realized he typed part of his credit card number into the donation box by mistake. “Just like that 150 became 15041. Yikes.”
Michael immediately contacted GoFundMe ,who assured him that there’s “no need to worry” since can process a refund in 3-7 business days.
Problem solved, right? Wrong.
Michale continued: “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?!’” The answer, woefully, was yes.
Michael planned on telling Joe what had happened the next morning, hopefully before too much info had spread. But it was already too late by then. He awoke to 40+ Facebook notifications, and was sent many messages by one name in particular with a Hindu name.
One of those messages revealed that the man was indeed from Bangladesh, and was surrounded by “dozens of impoverished and hungry people holding bags of food” who not only applauded Michael but thanked him BY NAME for the generous donation. Oy vey.
“At this point, I’ve leapt 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.” Good grief, will the hits never stop coming?
Luckily, this is where the story really turns around.
After getting his refund, Michael ended up donating $1500 rather than $150 after seeing how the community responded, and was told that it would still go “very far for urgent food relief.” Then, folks who had seen Michael’s story on Reddit began donating to the same GoFundMe page.
THEN, the story was read out loud on the super popular Youtube channel Smosh Pit as part of its series “Reading Reddit Stories,” and things really took off. So many “heard about this on Smosh” donations began rolling that the fundraiser now has over $120,000.
In a follow up post, Michael thanked the Reddit community for turning his snafu into a bona fide miracle. Apparently the charity was running on fumes and looking to cancel some of its programs before sudden windfall. In his view, he not only helped a great cause, he got a funny story out of it. A total win-win in the end.
If you’d like to donate to the Bangladeshi community from this story, you can find the GoFundMe here. Just be sure to double check your donation amount!
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