Fact Check

Justin Mallory

Are McDonald's and Pizza Hut donating $1 per e-mail forward towards the medical care of Justin Mallory?

Published Nov. 7, 1999


Claim:   McDonald's and Pizza Hut will donate $1 towards the medical care of Justin Mallory, a 12-year-old epileptic, for every e-mail forwarded.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 1999]

HELLO: My name is Justin Mallory. I am 12 years old and have epilepsy. I am undergoing treatment for my disease at the University of Pennsylvania Teaching Hospital. Without this treatment, the doctors tell me that I will not live another year. Through a donation with McDonalds and Pizza Hut these companies have agreed to donate $1 for every time this email is forwarded onto another person.

This means if 50,000 people forward on this email I will receive $50,000 in free medical treatment. Please, every single email can make a difference in my life. I beg you to help me by simply joining others before you in simply sending this email on to another. Thanks for your support.

Origins:   The "Justin Mallory" plea began circulating on the Internet in September 1999. In common with any number of other "for every e-mail forwarded (set amount) will be donated

towards the care of (name of sick child)" exhortations, the plea to aid Justin Mallory is also nothing more than smoke. There's no 12-year-old epileptic named Justin Mallory, no $1 per forward, and no McDonald's or Pizza Hut involvement.

Everyone wants to help sick children get better, and the thought of a little boy or girl languishing in a hospital because people couldn't be bothered to forward an e-mail tugs straight at the heartstrings. Problem is, hoaxsters know that, and they play upon these very human drives for their personal amusement. Once again, that is the case here: all that well-intentioned forwarding does nothing towards helping a sick child. It does, however, make the day of some Internet prankster.

If you want to make a difference in a sick child's life, I'm afraid the only way is still the old-fashioned one: donate your money or your time, not a worthless e-mail.

Barbara "the reality check is in the e-mail" Mikkelson

Last updated:   27 March 2005

  Sources Sources:

    Estrada, Heron Marquez.   "False Missing-Child Report Floods Faribault Police, BCA with Calls."

    [Minneapolis] Star Tribune.   14 November 1999   (p. B6).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.