ALTOONA, Iowa (WHO-DT/CNN) - An Iowa State University fan took his moment of fame on national TV to make a plea for strangers to Venmo him beer money.
He didn’t expect the overwhelming response, raising thousands of dollars practically overnight.
Instead of stocking up his fridge with Busch Light, he paid forward the generosity by donating it to help sick kids.
Every Saturday in the fall means one thing for millions of college football fans across the U.S.: College GameDay on ESPN. Last weekend, the popular show headed to Ames for the Iowa vs. Iowa State Game.
“It was electric. It was just non-stop energy. People were out there singing, you know, dancing, moving around, having a good time the entire time," said Carson King, an ISU fan.
King lives in nearby Altoona and attended Iowa State, so it’s no surprise that he described going to GameDay as “the dream of a lifetime.”
He arrived at 5:30 a.m. for the 3 p.m. game.
In the slim chance he’d make an appearance on TV, he wanted something that would leave an impression. That something was a sign requesting beer money to be sent to his Venmo account.
It wasn’t a plea he ever took seriously.
“I just thought as a joke. Maybe I could make a sign asking for money to get some Busch Light. You know, buy some lattes. My mom was like, ‘This is going to be a proud mom moment. My son is going to be begging for money for beer on national television,'" King said.
When the moment came, no one expected the overwhelming and instant response.
“I looked down at my phone. My friend was like, ‘Who keeps texting you?’ And it just kept going off and I looked down and had about $400 on my Venmo account," King said.
It didn’t take long for the amount to reach $600, then $1,000.
“I had people from Texas, Idaho, California, Massachusetts. A lot of Clemson people donated. I guess they like Busch Light, too," King said.
King called his parents to come up with a plan: Keep enough of the money for a case of Busch Light and send the rest to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
“Their hospital does great things for the state of Iowa. Both for Iowa State and the University of Iowa. The wave is a huge thing now. Those kids are fighters and they deserve any chance they can get," King said.
A post on social media and his Venmo account continue to swell. As of Tuesday evening, King reported that he had raised more than $40,000.
Busch Light and Venmo took notice, offering to match the donations. Busch Light threw in the promise of a little extra beer for King too.
Football fans in Iowa will tell you that the Cy-Hawk rivalry is tense, dividing even the closest families, but King says it’s not out of character for Iowans to set aside the fiercest divisions to do good for others.
“It’s just all hatred there, but all aside, the communities of Iowa all support each other. When people say ‘Iowa nice,’ they really mean it," King said.
King’s Venmo account is Carson-King-25. He plans to keep it open until the end of the month and then he will make the donation to the children’s hospital in person.