Chris Reynolds is a humble man, a family man who loved to keep things low.
But in June 2013, he was shocked when he opened his PayPal e-mail statement for that month, to find that what supposed to be a $140 he had on his account, had a little more than $92 quadrillion.
Or $92,233,720,368,547,800, to be exact.
The 56-year-old public relations executive from Pennsylvania, said that he was shocked to see “a number with a lot of digits”.
For a moment, Reynolds thought he owed someone $92 quadrillion, or 5,411 times the U.S. national debt at the time. But after Reynolds posted about the incident on Facebook, his friends said that the PayPal statement read “credit,” not “debt.”
What this means, Reynolds who also sells auto parts on eBay in his spare time, was the richest man in the world by a long shot.
At this time, co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates was only worth $72 billion.
Chris Reynolds, and a screenshot of his PayPal statement
“People suggested I might have had long lost relations reappear,” Reynolds said.
But when Reynolds logged into his PayPal account to double-check the numbers, his account balance returned to normal. His quadrillions have disappeared as fast as it appeared.
The whole thing was a glitch.
“It’s a curious thing. I don’t know, maybe someone was having fun,” Reynolds said.
PayPal admitted for the error, and apologized to Reynolds. The company offered to make an unspecified amount of donation to a cause of Reynolds’ choice.
“This is obviously an error and we appreciate that Mr. Reynolds understood this was the case,” PayPal said in a statement.
Before this incident, the most Reynolds ever made on PayPal was “a little over $1,000” after selling a set of vintage BMW tires on eBay.
Since the brief blunder, Reynolds, who works at the PR firm he co-founded with his wife, said that he has had some time to think about what he would have done with the $92 quadrillion.
“I’d want to pay down the US’ national debt. That’s been really bugging me,” Reynolds said.
After that, “I’m just a modest man. I would want to buy something for myself — maybe the Philadelphia Phillies, if I found a good deal. The rest of it, I’d invest, because that’s what my father-in-law would want me to do,” Reynolds says.
And even by spending all that, Reynolds should have had plenty of money left.
Reynolds also said that there was another good thing about this PayPal mistake.
Because of the incident, his friends who had not spoken with him for years, reconnected with him when he shared his experience on Facebook. Reynolds is known as a man who gets his clients into headlines, and this case made him an internet sensation.
“I’m enjoying a brief transit as an Internet meme,” Reynolds said.