Goosebumps, oh goosebumps! This story is full of them, and you can’t help but feel them. Carson King is quite a passionate and seemingly selfless sports fan. Some might think he’s a bit odd or overly enthusiastic. But then, there’s the sign he held up during a game, jokingly asking for “beer money”, which unexpectedly led to a flood of donations. King almost fainted from the response.
Of course, companies jumped on the trend to showcase their “generosity.” In the end, King did something unexpected with the money. Did he even buy the beer? Uhm… To really find out and go into his story, you’ll have to stick around.
The Viral Moment
Carson King, an ordinary sports fan from Altoona, Iowa, decided to attend the annual football game between the University of Iowa and Iowa State on September 14, 2019. King casually came early for the game. He had a plan. He showed up with a homemade sign that had “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished” scribbled on it. Below this humorous plea, he sneaked his Venmo handle. The sign was a stylish attempt to score some free beer money from fellow fans watching the game, both in the stadium and at home.
As the game progressed, King held up his sign, hoping to catch the eye of a few generous spectators. Little did he know, his sign did more than just that — it caught the attention of the cameras broadcasting ESPN’s “College GameDay.” The moment was brief, but it was enough. King’s sign was broadcast to many viewers. The “Busch Light Supply” sign was no longer just a request for beer money — it was the start of something much bigger.
The Unexpected Fundraising
Before anyone knew it, donations started pouring in. At first, it was just a trickle; however, when Carson King saw $600 in his Venmo account, he sought advice from his family. Finally, here is the answer you have been waiting for. Yes, King bought a case of Busch Light for $18.
Not only that, he decided he would be donating the rest of the money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. He shared his story on social media, and the response was incredible. His post went viral, and donations came flooding in from all over the country. People were energized to support the cause.
When Good Morning America aired King’s story, it took the whole thing to new heights. After the broadcast, more donations poured into King’s Venmo account. The notifications almost overwhelmed him; he received over 2,000 of them on his phone. The GMA broadcast brought national attention to King’s fundraising initiative.
The $1 Million Milestone and Corporate Involvement
In just a few days, donations soared to $157,000. As expected, big companies wanted to jump on the bandwagon to show “kindness,” but you know their real motive is far from that most of the time. Anheuser-Busch and Venmo took to Twitter to make known to the world that they would match King’s donation. This added more firewood to the fire of generosity.
The momentum continued, and by late September, the total surpassed $1 million. King revealed to GMA that he would personally present the check by himself at the hospital when the campaign ends. He looked forward to touring the hospital facilities and meeting some of the children who would benefit from the generous donation.
The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital couldn’t contain their excitement, tweeting, “We can’t think – our minds are blown by this. Thank you to everyone who helped reach this milestone! We’re so grateful!”
This is a difficult part of the story, yet it must be told. When a Des Moines Register reporter, Aaron Calvin, met with King for a profile, things took a sour turn. During the checks, Calvin uncovered tweets from King’s past, 2012, when he was just 16. These tweets ridiculed the Holocaust and black women.
King admitted to posting them, but before the profile could be edited, he hurriedly called a press conference to apologize. Maybe he should have waited to see if the Des Moines Register would include that information or not.
His apology was followed with positivity and forgiveness from people. However, the whole thing didn’t sit well with Anheuser-Busch. The company announced they would no longer be associated with him, though they would still honor their pledge of over $350,000. Both Anheuser-Busch and Venmo kept their promises.
Anheuser-Busch had also promised to send King, the “Iowa Legend,” beer cans for a year with his face and name on them. However, due to the events and revelations, they decided to cancel the offer. Instead, they added the value of the beer to their donation.
In the Last Lap: The Aftermath and Legacy
All these abracadabra did not stop the donations. Other businesses showed their support. The campaign,at the end, went over $3 million (including the matches of Anheuser-Busch and Venmo) with over 35,000 donors. On October 11, 2019, King delivered the money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The funds went a long way in giving a backbone to the hospital and its great mission. Its mission is to give children and their families access to advanced healthcare.
King’s philanthropic work did not conclude with the conclusion of the campaign no-no. He was still thrilled with how people warmly responded to his beer money sign joke. This gave him the impetus to keep the fire burning in philanthropy.
He set up the Carson King Foundation, a non-profit organization. Its goal is to level up the lives of families and children in times of need and bring communities together. The foundation organizes several initiatives to raise money to continue King’s legacy of giving.
King’s story is proof of the great power of social media and the impact one person (you’re not excluded) can make when they choose to do something. King’s playful beer money sign ended up creating a legacy of kindness and goodwill that will endure for years to come. A valuable lesson learned is that you watch what you share online. The internet never forgets.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.