A college football fan made headlines after appearing on TV with a sign asking people to Venmo him beer money for a game. Carson King expected that a few fellow fans might send him money. However, he didn’t expect thousands of dollars to come rolling in! Instead of using the money on himself, the young man decided to put the money to better use by donating it to a nearby children’s hospital.
A Passing Joke
Carson recently attended ESPN’s College GameDay with a group of friends. The college football show was broadcasting from Ames, Iowa, right before the anticipated matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones. The night before the game, Carson made a sign with a Sharpie and scrap of poster board, writing “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished,” and requested $25 via the digital payments service Venmo. Though he arrived at GameDay at 5:30 a.m., Carson, a 24-year-old alumnus of Iowa State, wasn’t able to get close enough to the main GameDay stage. However, he and his friends managed to find spots at a secondary stage in front of TV cameras. It was there that Carson held his poster with his Venmo username thinking that a few supporters might send him some spare change for a few beers. He and his friends were shocked as his phone buzzed with notifications from the app. Within 30 minutes, Carson had over $400. More and more money kept coming. “After I got $600 I thought, ‘There are better things I can do with this,'” he said.
A Better Idea
After buying one case of Busch Light, Carson made the decision to donate the rest of the money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “This is just how Carson is,” Dana Archer-King, his mother, told the Des Moines Register. “He’s always been compassionate and caring … a very kind person. My late mother always said about Carson, ‘That kid just simply loves life,’ and it’s so true.” Carson’s story and cause quickly went viral and, in a matter of weeks, he was featured on top shows and networks like Good Morning America, NBC News, CNN and Fox and Friends. After Carson did more press, more donations continued to come. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised by supporters of Carson’s great idea. After hearing Carson’s story and seeing his viral fundraiser, Anheuser-Busch and Venmo both also agreed to donate towards this great cause.
A Great Impact
Other businesses that donated included Prairie Meadows, Northwestern Mutual, Goldie’s Ice Cream Shoppe, Geneseo Brewing, and deWit Construction. The recent tally for donations is over $1.78 million! Tom Moore, a spokesman for the University of Iowa Healthcare, said the Stead Family Children’s Hospital had spoken to Carson. There would be a set day and time for the young man to “bring the donation over and present the check” in early October. The money would be used to “support the patients and their families” by helping to pay for needs like lodging for families staying near the hospital as well as gift cards for gas. “We’re very grateful to Mr. King,” the spokesman said.
For Carson, he was just doing what he knew was the right thing to do. However, he’s so grateful that his silly joke will go on to make a difference in the lives of others. “I am just overwhelmed that a sign that started as a joke will end up making such a meaningful impact for years to come,” Carson shared on Twitter. “We have the power to come together and make a difference. I hope this can be an inspiration for all of us going forward.”
In the future, the young man hopes to use his newfound platform to continue to make a positive impact. “With the profile and recognition and status I’ve gotten with this, I’d like to reach out to different organizations around the state and maybe around the country and put them in the spotlight and show people how great they are,” Carson shared.
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