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Online Typo Spurs Wave of Donations

Michael heard from a neighbor about a charitable cause that he wanted to support. So, he found the GoFundMe website and began the donation process. Michael intended to give $150, so those were the first three digits he entered into the “amount” field on the website. However, he began typing the numbers to his credit card before he remembered to move the cursor to the next field. So, what remained in the “amount” field was, instead of $150, more than $15,000 – about a hundred times what he intended to give.

He said, “It was just a complete typo. I was so bewildered.” Michael quickly canceled the transaction with his credit card company so that he could do it again properly. But a huge problem remained: the GoFundMe website still showed the original amount of $15,041, which was giving people the wrong idea.

Michael recalled, “I was like, ‘Oh no, that’s a problem.’” But before he could alert anyone, he began receiving an outpouring of thankful messages from Shohag Chandra, the Bangladesh-based charity’s program manager. Michael said:

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. It was picture after picture after picture of poor Bangladeshis thanking me for my kind donation. I felt so bad about the mistake that I made. I was definitely stressing about it.

Once his original contribution was refunded, he decided to donate $1,500. But more than that, he decided to tell others about his mistake. “The least I could do was take the time to post this story online and see if I can inspire other people to donate to this cause.”

Somehow the awkwardness of the situation combined with word of the poverty-stricken people needing help generated an unprecedented outpouring of donations. In just a few weeks, the Bangladesh relief organization received over $120,000 in donations, more than eight times over Michael’s original mistaken donation amount.

Michael said he was overwhelmed with gratitude when he saw some of the lighthearted comments online. One GoFundMe donor wrote, “We’re all here to make up for Michael’s mistake.” Sarah Peck, senior public affairs director for GoFundMe, said “We love that Michael’s story inspired others to rally behind this fundraiser and multiply his generosity.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

This is a real-life example of God redeeming our mistakes and using them to bring about good for others.

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