$92 quadrillion: PayPal accidentally makes man a quadrillionaire

$92 quadrillion from PayPal? That appeared to be the case for Chris Reynolds, who opened his PayPal statement for June to find $92 quadrillion. The public relations executive tells the Monitor how the Paypal blooper happened.

By , Contributor

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    Chris Reynolds' PayPal account statement for June, seen here, suggested Reynolds had $92 quadrillion. PayPal later apologized and said there had been a glitch.
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Last month, Chris Reynolds had $140 dollars in his PayPal account. On Saturday, he had a little more — $92 quadrillion, or $92,233,720,368,547,800, to be exact.

The 56-year-old public relations executive from Media, Pa., says he was shocked to see “a number with a lot of digits” when he opened his PayPal statement for June.

For a moment, Mr. Reynolds thought he owed someone $92 quadrillion, or 5,411 times the national debt. 

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“That was sobering,” he says.

But after Reynolds wrote about the incident on Facebook, his friends pointed out that the statement read “credit,” not “debt.” Forget Bill Gates and his $72 billion: with a whopping 17-digits to his name, Reynolds had just become the world’s richest man. 

“People suggested I might have had long lost relations reappear,” Reynolds says.

If only. 

When Reynolds logged into his PayPal account to double-check the numbers, his account balance read $0. The whole thing had been a glitch on his statement.

PayPal apologized to Reynolds for the error and offered to make a donation to a nonprofit of his choice.

Since the brief blunder, Reynolds, who works at the PR firm he co-founded with his wife (Reynolds Ink), says he has had some time to think about what he would have done with $92 quadrillion.

The first thing he would have spent the money on was not a sports car, a vacation home, or even an early retirement.

“I’d want to pay down the US’ national debt. That’s been really bugging me,” Reynolds says.

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.

He would have had plenty left over to do so as a quadrillionaire.

Nevertheless, Reynolds says there was still a silver lining in PayPal's mistake. Friends he had not spoken to in years reconnected with him when he shared his experience on Facebook. And although he is usually a man who gets his clients into headlines, Reynolds has become the focus of attention himself through his fleeting moment with $92 quadrillion.

“I’m enjoying a brief transit as an Internet meme,” Reynolds says.

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