Man's Generous Donation Ends Up Being a Little Too Generous

Californian meant to donate $150, sent $15K instead—but the story has a happy ending for all
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2023 12:48 PM CDT
Updated Jul 2, 2023 3:17 PM CDT
Man Accidentally Donates $15K to GoFundMe, Goes Viral
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Poike)

A California man who wanted to help his neighbor with a donation ended up mistakenly being a little too generous—but the story has a happy ending on all counts. A man who's IDing himself simply as Michael first relayed his overspending tale on Reddit last month, explaining how he'd decided to donate to a GoFundMe run by an elderly Hindu priest who lived in his San Francisco apartment building. The fundraiser was trying to pull in cash to provide food relief for a community in Bangladesh. "The next day at work, I go on the GoFundMe page and donate $150. Or so I thought," Michael writes.

He notes that soon after pressing "send" on the donation, he received an alert from his credit card company, notifying him "of an unusually large transaction" he'd just made. A confused Michael saw in the message that instead of donating $150 to the GoFundMe, he'd donated an account-emptying $15,041. "I was so bewildered," he tells the Washington Post. "It was just a complete typo screwup." Michael immediately contacted GoFundMe to get a refund, and the site promised that would happen—but not for three to seven business days, meaning his ample donation would remain visible on the site until that time. Michael figured he'd just tell his neighbor what had happened, but the next day, before he'd had a chance to speak to the priest, he received a Facebook message from a stranger.

"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 ... for my generous donation," he writes. After that, Michael said, even though he couldn't fork over $15,000, he felt compelled to up his original donation to $1,500. "I helped a great cause, and I got a funny story out of it," he writes. But, as notes, "the story doesn't end there." Michael put up a new GoFundMe for the charity, and people who'd read his Reddit thread began donating en masse. As of Friday, it had pulled in more than $135,000, which the charity tells the Post it will use for food, clothing, and medicine. "We love that Michael's story inspired others to rally behind this fundraiser and multiply his generosity," says a GoFundMe rep. (More uplifting news stories.)

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