Londoner 'to receive $1m from complete strangers'

Emma Woollacott
Money Bag - Pounds
Money Bag - Pounds

A lucky south Londoner is - just possibly - set to become a millionaire thanks to the generosity of a million strangers.

A few days ago, an anonymous internet user posted a message on the tech site Reddit pointing out that the site had millions of visits every month - and that if just 1% of these people donated $1, one individual could become a millionaire.

Site administrators liked the idea, and Millionairemakers was born. To be in with a chance of winning, all people had to do was post a message on the /r/millionairemakers thread. The site's moderators then used a random number generator to select a winner, with fellow users then encouraged to donate $1 via Paypal.

The choice has now been made - and the winner is a user named 'Emphursis', who says he's delighted.

"I was half awake in bed and I thought I'd have a quick look at Reddit, saw the little red envelope and clicked it to be greeted by all this! I'm blown away, it still hasn't really registered," he says.

"What am I going to do with anything that's donated? I'll definitely be making some donations to charity, to help give children in deprived areas a brighter Christmas. Beyond that, I've not really thought about it."

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Unfortunately, though, the money isn't yet pouring in. Only around 7,500 people have pledged to do so, and so far, fewer than a tenth of them have followed through. But it's early days yet.

"I think the goal of $1 million was always going to be nearly impossible to hit, especially the first time, especially with only 7,500 subscribers," says Emphursis.

"If I'm honest though I'm more than grateful for what has been donated so far ($600) and would still have been happy if it had only been $10. I never expected to win, so any amount is a nice thing to happen."

It's not the first time something like this has been tried. Back in 1987, Illinois man Mike Hayes wrote to Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene asking for everybody who read the column to donate one cent each to fund his college education. It worked: Hayes raised $28,000 and now has a degree in food science.

Reddit has said it will repeat the experiment if it's successful - let's hope enough fellow-Redditors follow through with donations to make that a possibility.

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