Student debt is on the rise in the U.S.
A plea for advice turned into a heartwarming outpouring at a Dutch Bros. company event Tuesday afternoon at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
The event’s keynote speaker, author Alex Banayan, shared the story and footage from the event on Twitter two days later, stating that “(t)his is proof there are good people in the world.”
The young employee from Fresno, Amanda Sanchez, asked a question halfway through Banayan’s Q&A session.
About an hour before the event, she said she received a notice from her college canceling her $5,000 financial aid package. She was unsure whether she should complete her degree, Banayan related. She said she had four semesters left.
Sanchez was cheerful when she grabbed the mic. As she explained her situation, the video Banayan shared on Twitter showed tears building in her eyes.
“It’s hard to explain how emotional it was as she told her story,” Banayan wrote in the fifth of a 10-tweet thread. “The only thing I could think to say is that I promised her that everyone in this arena loves her and we could figure this out together.”
Sanchez never asked for money, Banayan emphasized. As the crowd cheered, they began chanting in unison “Venmo.... Venmo... VENMO” and asking for her username, he said.
Within seconds, donations streamed in. “You guys are... amazing. I mean that!,” Banayan said loudly, as dollar by dollar $6,411 was transferred into Sanchez’s account.
“For your dream,” colleague Camaron Krieger noted after her donation. “DUTCH BROS LOVES YOU,” another wrote.
More than 2,500 employees attended the event and many contributed to Sanchez’ college tuition.
Many shared the news on Twitter, making her story go viral.
One attendee tweeted as the donations came in, adding she could not “name a more amazing and selfless company.”
In that same thread, a friend of Sanchez screen recorded the stream of donations. She said others may have been still sending funds more than six hours later.
“(W)atching every dutch bros employee from franchises from multiple states pull out their phones including myself to send money & help (A)manda finish school was the most amazing experience that i could have ever needed,” one employee tweeted the next morning. “(I)t embodies the culture that our company upholds every day.”
Twitter user Graciela Galindo updated the thread later Wednesday evening, sharing Sanchez decision to resume school in the fall and complete her degree.