For all you baseball fans out there, I’m sure you’re aware that Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit last weekend. While I’m a big Yankee fan and I could rant and rave about Jeter all day long, I’m going to focus on someone on the other side of the fence: the fan who could his 3,000th hit, which happened to be a home run.
The man’s name is Christian Lopez, a 23 year old cell phone salesman. First, let’s lay out his financial situation and then we’ll discuss this young man’s decision making skills. Christian has over $100,000 in student loan debt. As a cell phone salesman in New York, I doubt he’s able to support a crazy lifestyle and paying off that debt is many years away.
Now, when Christian caught that home run ball, he didn’t realize that estimates were that the ball was worth $250,000. He didn’t think about the fact that he could sell it, erase his student loan debt and then some.
Nope, Christian instead gave the ball back, hoping to get a couple of autographed bats and balls. Instead, the Yankees generously gave him not only the signed baseballs and bats he wished for, but signed jerseys plus luxury box tickets for the rest of the season (and playoffs), all because he was generous and gave the ball back to Jeter. He could have sold that ball for a ton of money, but he did what he thought was the right thing.
Would you have given the ball back if you were in Christian’s situation? I definitely would not have! $250,000 is a ton of money. If you won the lottery, would you give it all away simply because it was the right thing to do? I’d be taking that thing to the bank faster than I’d be selling a gold watch I found on the street at one of those cash for gold sites that are always on tv (especially with the price of gold being what it is today). I’m sure a lot of people have said ‘yah, it’s a nice gesture, I would have done it too if they asked me.’ That’s crazy!
To add insult to injury, Christian has to pay taxes on all the gifts he receives, which means at the end of the year, he’ll owe the IRS an estimated $14,000. Damn!
As it turns out, several companies have come to Christian’s aid. Miller High Life is rewarding him by covering his tax bill, and both Modell and Steiner Stports have guaranteed at least $25,000 to help pay off his student loan debt.
So in the end Christian Lopez got paid handsomely for his kind gesture, without having to pay any taxes or fees. I’m not sure it was a wise decision (he would have made more selling it), but it definitely paid off in the end.
This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about people giving up big money in sports, but this time it wasn’t an athlete who already had big bucks, it was a fan who could definitely have used that money.
Readers, What would you have done?