It's inevitable, everybody makes a mistake sometimes. While the scale and severity of that mistake can vary, if it truly was an accident or an oversight, almost anything can be resolved with some work and apologetic words.
That doesn't mean it's any less embarrassing, though, especially when it's something you have to walk back after people have already reacted. Seeing humor in his error far after it happened, one man shared a story of his own grand mistake online and wound up making a huge impact because of it.
A Generous Heart
Making a charitable donation is always a gracious and kind thing to do. Whether it be for your preferred organizations on a monthly basis or a spontaneous donation made after speaking to an advocate who's campaigning in your city. Knowing you've helped an organization that's then helping others is such a good feeling.
There are some rare instances where donating to charity can actually be a bad thing, though to no fault of the charity's own. No one knows this better than one man who told his tale of errors online so that others would not follow in his footsteps.
The Starting Line
He made a post on Reddit detailing his experience, a post that got tons of attention around the world.
"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," the post begins, our author only identifying himself by his first name, Michael.
He says that he and his wife live in a small apartment building in San Francisco, where one of their neighbors, Joe, is a retired American veteran in his 70s who's also a devout Hindu priest.
One day, Michael runs into Joe in the hallway, and Joe tells him about this community in Bangladesh that he manages a charity for. Wanting to support both his friendly neighbor and that community, Michael says he'll donate some money.
He visits the GoFundMe page they had set up the next day. "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."
A Little Bit More
"I'm confused and swipe to open the text message. It says I have made a payment of $15,041 to GoFundMe."
Understandably, he immediately gets worried. "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."
Michael calls customer service and they assure him that they'll be able to get a refund within 3-7 business days. Great, that problem's solved, but then he realizes there's another issue at hand.
He asks if the charity will be able to see his exorbitant donation amount even though it's being refunded. The customer service line confirms that, yes, the charity will see the donation of $15,000 until it gets removed once the refund is processed. "I tell [customer service] 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?"
Already Too Late
To try and rectify this, he promised to knock on Joe's door the next morning and tell him everything that happened, but even that was too late. He woke the next morning to a lot of Facebook notifications, all from a man with a Hindu name in Bangladesh.
"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."
Bumping It Up
Of course, he couldn't just leave them with the $15,000 as he couldn't afford that. However, he did feel bad knocking his donation down to a measly $150 in comparison, so he settled on a compromise.
"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."
He then posted the link to a more recent GoFundMe the charity had made. As of writing, it has over $181,000 raised, likely thanks to how much attention this story received.
Comedy Of Errors
So, while Michael's mistake isn't one you would want to stumble into yourself, it at least had an incredible ending that benefits everyone. Michael got his money back, the charity got a huge boom in donations, and everyone who got to read his story had a good laugh about it.
Mistakes don't always end in disaster. Being able to recognize what you did wrong and make up for it is the important part, as most people are pretty understanding. We all slip up from time to time! Being able to laugh at it will also help when dealing with the mistake, keeping levity and humility in your heart.