Claim: A billionaire has promised 5¢ per e-mail forward to help Jada, a premature baby who requires expensive medical care.
Example:[Collected on the Internet, 1999]
My name is Anna Cohen and I live in Albany New York.
My daughter Liz recently had a baby girl named Jada 2 months early. Jada has many problems with her heart and lungs and medical costs have become extremely expensive. Jada was recently moved to a hospital in California and the move was very expensive.
A billionaire in California has promised to give $.05 for every time this email is forwarded. If you wouldn't mind forwarding this to everyone on your list I would greatly appreciate it as well as my daughter and little Jada. This could save a life. Please have a heart and forward this. Remember: What goes around comes around.
Origins: This plea to help a premature baby in Albany, New York, began circulating on the Internet in November 1998. In common with similar entreaties, an unnamed wealthy benefactor is said to be poised to help a sick or injured child to the tune of so many cents per e-mail
Before you give in to the temptation to ask all of your friends to help, think about this: Why would a billionaire committed to aiding the family of an injured child make the degree of his participation contingent upon the number of e-mails garnered by the plea?
The idea that an anonymous benefactor would be kind enough to want to underwrite the cost of a child's care yet heartless enough to insist upon making the amount of such help dependent on something as frivolous as Internet participation seems absurd. If there really were such a person, why wouldn't he just write a check for whatever amount the family needed?
Another question to ask yourself: how would the billionaire know how many e-mails have been forwarded (and thus how much to write the check for)? The note contains no instructions about sending a copy to a central gathering point, so there's no one doing the counting.
Jada Cohen, the child mentioned in this e-mail is fictitious: no amount of searching has turned up anything about her or the e-mail campaign to fund her care. Consider this plea the cyber equivalent of someone's ringing the doorbell and running away.
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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