A heartwarming act of generosity by Reddit users resulted in an unintended consequence for a GoFundMe campaign in Bangladesh. The charitable intentions of the donors were admirable, but their eagerness to help led to an unintentional mix-up,
In recent years, crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe have gained popularity as a way for individuals and organizations to raise funds for a variety of causes.
“I thought it was a good cause and a neighborly thing to do,” said Michael, 31, who asked to be referred to only by his first name for privacy reasons, saying he preferred to divert attention away from himself and toward the cause.
Shortly after making his donation on the GoFundMe campaign though, Michael received a notification from his credit card company, warning him of a suspiciously large transaction. He swiped to open the text message, which alerted him to a $15,041 charge from GoFundMe.
“It was just a complete typo screw up,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post this week, owning his mistake. When he saw the five-figure number, “I was so bewildered.”
Read the entire article on the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2023/06/29/charity-reddit-mistake-bangladesh-gofundme/
Soon, it all made sense. Michael’s credit card number started with four and one. Clearly, he said, he accidentally began typing his credit card information while his cursor was still in the donation box.
In a state of panic, Michael immediately contacted GoFundMe’s support line to rectify the mistaken donation. He explained the situation, expressing his relief when he was assured that a refund would be processed within a timeframe of three to seven business days.
As Michael scrolled through the heartfelt photos of individuals holding signs expressing their gratitude with his name, a wave of sadness washed over him. He felt a deep sense of remorse for having to retract his substantial donation. Although he remained committed to contributing the initial $150 he had intended to give, he wanted to do more to make amends.
“The guilt from my mistake weighed heavily on me,” Michael shared. “I was genuinely stressed about it.”
After the refund for his original donation was processed, he then made the decision to donate $1,500 as a gesture of goodwill.
“That is a lot for us,” said Chandra, explaining that the organization supports “millions of the poorest and most needy people in Bangladesh,” where more than 20 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line.
In the months following the donation mishap, Michael had confided in his family and friends about the story behind the typo. Then he made the decision to share the saga publicly on Reddit.
Feeling a sense of responsibility, Michael believed that sharing his experience online could potentially inspire others to donate to the cause. He recognized that even though his own donation had been a mistake, he could still make a positive impact by raising awareness.
Unbeknownst to him, his story resonated with people far and wide, resulting in an incredible outcome. Within a matter of weeks, the Reddit post garnered an astonishing $120,000 in donations for Bangladesh Relief, surpassing Michael’s original mistaken contribution by a significant margin.
When people donated, they left lighthearted comments, such as: “we’re all here to make up for Michael’s mistake.”
Bangladesh Relief is now in the process of expanding its services to provide more than just food relief, clothing, and supplies. Thanks to the generous donations received, the organization plans to allocate funds toward providing essential medication to those in need. Additionally, the funds will be utilized to support local orphans, ensuring they receive the care and assistance they require. This expansion of services will enable Bangladesh Relief to make an even greater impact on the lives of those they serve.