Recently during a Saturday morning football game featuring Iowa vs. Iowa State, a young man was seen on ESPN’s College GameDay with a sign that stated “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished.” Below Carson King’s call of dehydration desperation he included instructions on how people could Venmo him funds. (Venmo is a way to safely share money using your phone)
It was a simple sign that appeared to have taken 3 minutes to design. For whatever reason, the internet went wild. Before he could realize, he had over $6,000 in his account. Certainly enough money to buy a few bushels of Busch Light. King decided to do the right thing and donate the money sent to him to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.
News of his generosity caught fire and a number of companies including Anheuser-Busch, maker of Busch Light, pledged $350,000. Overall, what started as a simple goof turned into a major story of generosity and integrity. Carson King could have disappeared into regular life with a little extra cash in his pocket and a great story to tell.
But the story didn’t end there. Just as fast as the internet exploded to assist King with his need to replenish his beer supply, the internet mob even more quickly turned their attention to the man behind the sign. His sudden notoriety turned attention to his past and the next thing you know, the Des Moines Register publishes that this young man had tweeted some offensive jokes when he was 16 years old.
“I had no recollection of it. In re-reading it today -- eight years later -- I see it was an attempt at humor that was offensive and hurtful,” King said. “I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16 years old. I want to sincerely apologize.”
Here’s my question. Does a person’s past discretions outweigh his current integrity and behavior? And why is this even a story? This guy isn’t running for Governor. Why is the Des Moines Register spending time digging through a person’s high school tweets?
For those of us who are old enough to know better, we also know that we are probably very thankful that we didn’t have something like Twitter when we were in high school. If every moment and thought I had was public from when I was 16 years old I imagine I would probably be questioned about a few indiscretions. But who wasn’t stupid when they were 16? I’m pretty sure I knew more than everyone else at that age.
So, I am outraged about this story. I’m outraged that the good deeds, integrity and generosity of this young man are being overshadowed by the pitchfork nation that dug into a person’s past.
Should we judge a person by their past? Or judge them based on where they are in the present? Or should we not judge people at all, and consider the great deed for what it is.