How Social Media Helped a Dad Who Lost His Savings to ‘Evil Carnies’

By Devon Glenn 

A cautionary tale became a story of compassion when social media users rallied to help a man who lost his life savings trying to win an X-Box for his kids in a carnival game and walked away with nothing but a stuffed banana with dreadlocks as a prize.

After local news station WBZ-TV picked up the story, editors at CollegeHumor offered to buy the banana from Henry Gribbohm for $2,600 (the full amount that was lost) and give the man an X-Box Kinect if readers would generate 30,000 Facebook Likes for their post about the story.

Not everyone who read the man’s tale felt sorry for him, pointing out that $2,600 is a lot of money to wager on a gaming console that only costs a couple hundred dollars in stores. In addition, after complaining that the game was rigged, Gribbohm said the New Hampshire game operator had already given him back $600.

Others who were less judgmental helped the CollegeHumor team exceed its goal. In the end, the campaign generated more than 37,000 Likes.

“I’d say some people got behind behind it because they wanted to help the guy out,” CollegeHumor editor-in-chief Streeter Seidell told SocialTimes. “They felt bad for him and saw a chance to give the story a happy ending. Then I think there were probably a sizable chunk of people who just wanted to see if we’d do it. Would we really spend $2,600 on a stuffed rasta banana? They have their answer.”

Over the weekend, the publication sent Seidell to meet Gribbohm in person and exchange the banana for the X-Box and the cash. The moment is captured in the video above.

The grateful father says he plans to donate some of the money to the Boston Run and will use the rest to set up a college fund for his three kids. As for the banana, “I’m going to miss him,” Gribbohm said.”We’ve definitely become close.”