A college football fan who held up a sign on national TV asking for beer money says he’s giving the thousands of dollars he raked in to a children’s hospital.
And the cash is being tripled thanks to two companies announcing matching contributions.
Carson King held a poster that said “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished” on ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday morning.
He scrawled his Venmo account details on the sign for the nation to see.
The college football show was broadcasting from Ames, Iowa, ahead of the matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones.
King, a 24-year-old who attended Iowa State, told CNN he and his friends couldn’t get close enough to the main “GameDay” stage, but positioned themselves near a secondary stage well in the view of TV cameras.
After a little while, one of his friends asked him, “Who keeps texting you?”
King looked at his phone and after less than 30 minutes of holding the sign, more than $400 worth of Venmo donations had already popped in to his account.
“After I got $600 I thought, ‘There are better things I can do with this,’” he said.
He spoke to his family and decided that, after the cost of paying for a case of Busch Light, he’d give the rest to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, he said.
As of Tuesday evening, the amount he has received in his Venmo account had reached more than $20,000.
The children’s hospital is next to the Hawkeyes’ Kinnick Stadium. During each Iowa home game, fans traditionally do the “Iowa Wave” in tribute to the children who can watch the game unfold from the hospital windows.
Busch Beer took notice, tweeting, “This is the best thing we have read all year, we’re inspired. We’re going to match your donation to University of Iowa.
In turn, Venmo tweeted, “Count us in for matching the donation to the hospital, too.”
With the companies chipping in, the total donation as of Tuesday evening was nearly $60,000, and King says he plans to keep collecting donations until the end of the month.
King said those interested in donating to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital can also do so directly through the hospital’s website.
Tom Moore, a spokesman for University of Iowa Healthcare, said the Stead Family Children’s Hospital had spoken to King and was coordinating a time for him to “bring the donation over and present the check” early next month.
“We’re very grateful to Mr. King,” Moore said. He added that, once received, the money would be used to “support the patients and their families,” paying for things such as lodging for families staying near the hospital, as well as gift cards for gasoline.
King has been getting messages of gratitude from people with children receiving treatment at the hospital, as well as from those who’ve received treatment there in the past and are now cancer-free.
“It’s been overwhelming and touching,” he said.