This week I had to visit a company making equipment for a project I’m working on, and due to the locations of both of our companies, it was simply easier to do the 350 mile drive each way over the last couple of days. As a result – and also the result of the rental car not having any sort of MP3 player input jack, and me not bringing any CDs – I listened to a lot of radio. I heard angering stories about Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, Komen, and the state of financial literacy in our nation. I also heard one story that immediately sounded so good that I questioned the veracity. Tell me what YOU think.
Here is the basic story:
Jason Elia spent $8,000 for two tickets to Sunday’s Super Bowl and was going to take his football-loving girlfriend. [note: in the radio show I heard that he planned to propose, I assumed during the Super Bowl, but apparently it was supposed to be at Christmas]
But she broke up with him first. The reason? He has cancer.
Elia said that his girlfriend “could not handle the stress of having a boyfriend with cancer.”
Now, she wants the tickets back, because he intended them to be for her.
Instead, Elia is going to give them away. He appeared on ESPN 97.5 in Houston and said he would give the tickets to whomever helps him get the most followers on Twitter.
Using #WinMyExsSuperBowlTickets, he has gained thousands of followers on his Twitter account so far.
He said it’s not about revenge, but because he “wants to give someone the same enjoyment that he thought he was going to get with someone he loved.”
The good news for Elia, he has an 87 percent chance of survival and has close to 10,000 followers on Twitter.
This is one of those stories that quickly triggers outrage – and having just watched the very good movie 50/50, I could almost place the characters and really feel for the tragedy. He is in love, is a struggling writer who manages to get enough money to buy tickets to take the person he hopes will be his fiance by then to the Super Bowl … but then a diagnosis of cancer brings it all crashing down – first the cancer, then the loss of the woman he loves, then her demands that he give her the tickets.
Since then two things have happened:
First, he has reportedly given the tickets away to a specific person rather than through his Twitter feed, as noted here:
“I changed the rules because I got an email that tugged at my heart strings and I decided to give the tickets to that person,” said Elia, who hired someone to track who was gaining him the most followers on the social media site. “I would’ve won my own contest,” he joked.
The email that won Elia over was from a father who told him about his son’s illness. Elia didn’t get into specifics, but said the father reached out to him through a private charity in hopes of winning the tickets and taking his son to the Super Bowl game.
“The dad wanted to take his son, but couldn’t afford to,” said Elia in the podcast. “It was a moment that I wanted to share with (my girlfriend), just changed a little bit.”
They took a shot, Elia said, “and I thought why not make a dream come true?”
On his Twitter account Tuesday morning, Elia posted: Thank you to everyone. It’s over now though. You’re all free to unfollow. Goodnight.
And second … now the girl has come forward to the Daily Mail (UK paper, also recently brought into the whole Rupert Murdoch scandal thing … thanks NPR for that update as well) with a very different story:
However, Miss Sen told Mail Online that her reputation has been falsely dragged through the mud by a man she only met once.
She says there were no Superbowl tickets and there were no demands. Most importantly, she says, there was no breakup because there was never a relationship.
She doesn’t even care about the Superbowl, she says.
Miss Sen believes Mr Elia is making the entire story up to get attention.
‘I wouldn’t call Jason someone I dated. More like some creepy person now that I met once in my whole life. I have no idea what this whole Super Bowl thing is nor did I know about it,’ Miss Sen told the Mail Online in an e-mail.
We don’t really know the truth – and since the tickets were given in an anonymous donation through a private charity to an un-named person, we have no objective corroboration of the story … or even the existence of the tickets.
My verdict? CRAP.
When I was listening, the thing that stood out for me was the demand for the tickets. Cancer happens, and based on his Twitter feed that seems like it might be genuine. If so that is really unfortunate and he has my sympathies. As for the girlfriend … as I mentioned we just watched 50/50, which did a great job portraying the impact of the diagnosis upon relationships, so I was good with that.
But even in the car I was talking to the radio after hearing the demands and said ‘he overplayed his hand’. Bottom line – even a person who is a total jerk would only demand ONE ticket – but based on his story, she wanted BOTH tickets since they were bought with her in mind. They failed the ‘smell test’ for me, so when I read her story in the Mail Online – which ITSELF fails the smell test … why would a US person reacting to a story covered heavily on a site like HuffPost reach out to a trashy rag in the UK for reaction? So I chose to believe no one …
What do YOU think? Check out the links in the article and let us know!