The Good Stuff: From Scammer To Saint


If you’ve got an email address, chances are you’ve been targeted by an internet scammer, and unfortunately a lot of people fall for the Nigerian Prince who wants to mail you a money order… and this story seemed like another scam, but then something good happened.

A guy named Dan got a Facebook message from someone named Joel in Liberia, asking for help. Joel said that if Dan would send him some electronics, he’d sell them, and send Dan back half of the money he made. The message seemed like a scam, so Dan decided to try to mess with him with the thought that any time he could get Joel to waste with him, was less time for Joel to scam other people.

So dan told him that he wouldn’t send him electronics or money, but if Joel would take photos of where he lives, dan would put them into a book, sell it, and split the proceeds. Surprisingly, Dan did get some photos, but they were terrible. He said they looked like they were shot with an old flip phone. So, Dan got a cheap digital camera and sent it along with some tips on photography, but he still figured he’d never hear anything back.

Within days, beautiful images started filling his inbox, and Dan was impressed. So impressed that he compiled them into a photo book, and started a campaign on Indiegogo to raise money to publish it, which was successful. When Dan had raised a couple hundred dollars, he wired it to Liberia, and thought either he’s going to keep the money for himself, or he’s going to use it to help his community. Joel did just that. He used the $500 to buy every backpack he could get his hands on and he gave them to kids in his village.

Since then, the book has sold over 1,000 copies in 40 countries and raised  more than $13,000 for children in Joel’s area, it’s for sale through Indiegogo.. .it’s called By The Grace Of God and it features beautiful photos that Joel has taken of life in West Africa, and it’s also funding employment and providing some basic needs for Joel and his community. It seemed like an internet scam, but because Dan decided to take a little chance, some good stuff happened.

That’s the good stuff for today, if you have a good stuff story, share it with me at bigdave@wkxa.com. The good stuff is brought to you each weekday at 7:50 by Mazda direct on county line street in Fostoria, and online at mazdadirectsales.com.

You can check out the book and get your copy here.