|By Kramer Phillips | 2 years ago|
eautiful things can happen when you put your trust in people.
A few months ago, Dan from the YouTube channel Pleasant Green was contacted by a man named Joel from Liberia. He reached out via Facebook message and asked for help. Figuring it was yet another “African internet scam,” Dan decided to play along. He assumed that if he kept the scammer busy, he’d have less time to bother other vulnerable people on the web. But what ended up happening was something else entirely.
Joel asked if Dan could send him some electronics, which he would then sell and split the proceeds with Dan. Naturally, Dan declined the offer but decided to do something unexpected instead: “I thought I would invest a little bit of money in this guy to see if he was scamming me, or if he was seriously trying to improve his situation.”
He asked Joel to take pictures of his village, but when Dan saw them, they were terrible. Undeterred, Dan mailed Joel a $30 camera and received more photos in return. “The pictures were a little better quality,” Dan said, but they were still pretty bad.
Dan gave Joel some photo-taking pointers, including how to hold the camera steady and to make sure there’s plenty of light. Amazingly, the Liberian man took the instructions to heart and his photos improved dramatically.
“Some of his photos were just stunning. They really showed the beauty and difficulty of life in Liberia,” Dan said. Inspired by the images he received, Dan decided to make a photo book to support Joel.
Dan told Joel that he’d split the profits from the book 50/50, and he planned to donate his half to charity.
But after seeing the poverty in Joel’s photos, Dan knew the money was better off going back into the very community that was represented in the images. He offered to help the people in Liberia with his portion of the book’s revenue and ask Joel what he could do to help.
Joel told him that the children in Liberia needed help the most.
Items like school supplies, stationery, and book bags would be most appreciated, but Joel estimated it would cost $500 or more. Dan took another leap of faith and wired Joel $500.
He thought, “This is when we’re really going to find out what Joel is made of. Either he’s going to use that money for the kids, or he’s going to keep it for himself.”
What happened next was nothing short of incredible: Joel took the money and cleaned out the local shops of supplies for children in five local schools.
He took pictures to show everyone who bought a book what their money helped accomplish.
“When you give someone a chance, sometimes they’re not who you thought they were,” Dan said. “Sometimes they surprise you. And sometimes you end up being the answer to their prayers.”