Saturday, May 1, 2010

The gift that keeps on giving (unedited)

I didn't think there was much more to say about the cystic fibrosis kid, but I was wrong.

First, comments from two people I don't know:

Your utility bills sounds enormous and it wasn't that long ago---- few years back that you were looking for donations for utilities back then. Obviously , people are going to think you are running some scam if you keep having the same emergency year after year. has some financial tips... maybe read his book from the library. good common sense stuff for budgeting.

That is a sample of a much longer comment a woman posted to Doug. She wasn't really judgmental, she seemed more interested in offering advice. She addressed Doug's smoking, debunking his claim that smoking was actually benefiting his lungs. After a lengthy diatribe about how quitting smoking would be better for Doug in the long run, she noted how people might believe that he is running a scam and concluded with advice about his Mountain Dew consumption.

Her comment about his bills was most telling. She has known Doug for a while, obviously, and Doug's financial need is an ongoing issue, evidently, or so he claims.

wow! I will not be helping you financially but I will be praying for you spiritually! You need to get your life in order. I have no compassion for someone who is chosing to endanger themselves by smoking! You're lucky you've lived this long smoking with CF> You should be ashamed. Do the math on how much you'd save yearly by not smoking! I will be deleting you from my friends page and will not continue to support you. good luck. I also agree with Mary that you should return that money to each and every person that gave it to you! What are your other medical conditions? Take care of yourself and your only get one shot at this life and you should really evaluate it and make the most of it!

It appears another person is highly skeptical of Doug's integrity.

On Friday evening I gathered with a handful of my haunted house co-workers at a pinball joint not far from my apartment. Mary was part of that group. We talked about Doug, and the more I learn, the more it appears Doug is being far from truthful.

Doug works full time, Mary has been told. She can't verify he is working full time at the moment, but he has worked full time for Metro Transit, our primary public transit provider. He works internally, and has some sort of supervisory position according to another seasonal haunted attraction co-worker who drives a Metro Transit bus. It sounds like Doug has money to pay bills, but chooses not to.

Doug has severed his ties to Mary and Mark's accounts, but Mary's questioning and criticism of him has had an impact. Having seen his repeated requests for donations from his Facebook network -- which exceeds 1,000 users thanks to his sending friend requests to everyone connected to anyone he knows -- she questioned his financial needs, and found that he had received $350 in donations, most of them coming from out of state Facebook users who are parents of a child with cystic fibrosis. This angered Mary, prompting her concern.

Since posting her questions and criticisms, she has received several personal messages from people who were or are skeptical of his financial needs. Mary felt so bad that the parent of a child with cystic fibrosis donated to Doug that she made a small donation to the woman.

From what Mary has learned though her correspondence, Doug is less than truthful about his situation, and at times will lie about his situation to make his story sound worse than it is appearing to be.

A damning piece of evidence against Doug: his "brother" Mike wrote a lengthy message to Mary, essentially confirming that he falsely portrays his financial situation. (And no, they're not related, but their families are close and they grew up together.)

By the way, Doug's responses to Mary's questions and criticism have been to either delete Mary's posts or to respond by simply saying he has never lied to anyone, and that nobody is perfect, including him.

The more I read, and the more I'm told, the more I'm starting to respect Mary's actions. She has contacted the website that is hosting Doug's fundraising effort to help pay his bills, and is suggesting the site administrators look into his situation.

I don't think she is overreacting. Doug has pictures on Facebook from the first regular season game at the new home of baseball's Minnesota Twins, Target Field. It's clear Doug is a big Twins fan, and somehow he managed to obtain a highly coveted, and valuable, ticket to the inaugural regular season game. Pretty impressive for a guy who can't afford to pay his medical bills. According to Mary, he is a season ticket holder. And as she pointed out, there's a picture of some sort of stone at the ballpark, bearing the names of donors to some sort of cause related to the ballpark, including Doug.

The evidence is certainly mounting against Doug. I'm highly skeptical of his integrity at this point, to say the least.

According to the old saying, where there's smoke, there's fire. It sure sounds like Doug's honesty went up in smoke long ago.

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