Every year during college football season, Iowa fans look forward to the annual rivalry game between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Fans of each team spend the week before the game “trash talking” opposing fans in hopes their team is the one that ends up on top when the clock runs out during the game.
With both Iowa and Iowa State in the top 25 this year, fans were hoping some within ESPN would take notice. A week before the game, the big announcement came; ESPN’s College Game Day crew had chosen the Ames location for the Cyclones versus Hawkeyes matchup.
Tickets began to sell out quickly as every fan wanted their chance to attend the high priority game. With live action cameras rolling for the show, it has become a tradition for fans to make signs in hopes to be spotted on live television.
Former Iowa State student Carson King grabbed a sharpie and made his now famous sign at 10 p.m. the night before the game. Without putting much thought into it, he quickly wrote, “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished” along with his Venmo account name.
As he stood in the background of the stage and behind Kirk Herbstreit he held up his sign. Hoping to be seen for only joking purposes, King was shocked when he checked his Venmo account the first time and noticed over $600 had been received.
As the funds grew, he quickly decided the money was much too large to be spent on beer. He made the decision to donate all funds to charity.
Not just any charity, but he announced he would send all money received to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.
With a few social media posts on Facebook and Twitter, the media found out his plans. Money continued to pour into the account as Anheuser-Busch Light and Venmo made the announcement they would match any funds received.
When the two companies announced their commitments, King currently had an estimated $25,000 in his personal Venmo account. The outpouring of support from all across the country was being noticed from television talk shows and radio broadcast shows.
One man from Iowa was the main focus of news and radio stations all across the United States including states as far away as California, Florida, New York and even into Canada, Brazil, Australia, Poland, Iceland and the Philippines. His story had gone viral and everyone wanted a chance to meet the man helping the kids.
After an appearance on Good Morning America, the funds quickly grew to $1,000,000. It didn’t take long after to reach the $2,000,000 goal.
It was following this goal, King’s social media posts from his youth took the spotlight after a reporter with The Des Moines Register brought them to light. Posts that were quotes from a popular television show Tosh.O that could be viewed as racist and hurtful.
Busch Light announced they would be cutting all ties to King the same evening and it appeared his past would now greatly affect his good deed. Instead the entire State of Iowa banded together as well as those from all across the world to continue their support to his donation fund which hit the $3,000,000 mark as the deadline hit.
Melanie Halferty with Wayne Community Schools took a chance messaging King asking if he would be willing to travel to Corydon to speak with junior high and high school students on his whirlwind journey. Much to her surprise, he responded and accepted her request.
When Halferty began the assembly on Oct. 28, she asked the students if they felt one person could make a difference. Several students shouted out yes and as she asked if they knew of anyone, it was unanimous as shouts of “Carson King” echoed through the gymnasium.
King spoke to the students about the whirlwind of events in a very short time frame then dove into the topic of how social media can play a significant role in lives. Not only in a positive way, but negative as well.
He reminded the students everything posted on social media can come back to haunt you later in life. He acknowledged how his own personal tweets nearly derailed his own fundraiser for kids.
King wanted the students to be aware words can hurt in ways never imagined when posted online and on personal social media accounts. Through his own experience he now realizes anything posted he has to think if it would offend or upset those reading it.
It was a life lesson that he learned the hard way, but through his own experience he was able to take ownership of his mistakes and realize it was a chance for him to move forward by making positive changes for the future. In speaking to the Wayne students he urged them to think wisely before posting anything that could come back to haunt them years down the road.
With the success that was accomplished through the hospital fundraiser, King announced he is now working on a new fundraiser for the Children’s Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is also working with other kid’s cancer organizations to raise money to help those in need.
It is a story that will forever be remembered as a joke about obtaining free beer turned into a small act of kindness that took hold of hearts all across the country. While Iowa-nice is a very real thing Iowans are known for, when it comes to helping the kids, people join together in masses and there was definitely a positive message King was able to share with our kids.