A 15-year-old Massachusetts teenager has started a GoFundMe page in an attempt to buy his grandparents’ house. Bryson Williams explains that his grandfather had knee replacement surgery and can no longer work. Without his income, they are unable to afford their Litchfield Park, Arizona, home and have recently put it on the market.
I saw this story on the news and wasn’t sure I liked the idea of asking for donations to save this couple’s house. I’m not saying he shouldn’t do it or shouldn’t be allowed to do it, only that something about it doesn’t feel right to me.
Most anyone can understand how this young man feels about spending time with his family at his grandparents’ home and his interest in preserving that. He also says he wants to save his grandparents from having to move away from their friends — also understandable.
Perhaps if he was doing something more than setting up a webpage to ask for donations, my view would be different, However, in three articles I read, including the description on his GoFundMe page, I saw no indication that he’s doing anything other than asking people to donate money.
From what I can tell, the house is magnificent. Among the photos Bryson included on his GoFundMe page is a shot of his family enjoying the in-ground pool in the backyard.
Something troubles me about this
So, what’s my issue with this? I have nothing against Bryson or his family. And as I said, Bryson’s fondness for his grandparents’ home is understandable. My own grandparents’ home was the only stable place in my entire childhood and I still have fond memories of it. Bryson said he wants to keep his grandparents’ home in the family, and I felt exactly the same way about my grandparents’ (by comparison) very modest home. But it didn’t work out that way.
My issue has several elements. One, Bryson is making a minimal effort here. There’s not much effort involved in setting up a GoFundMe page. Second, frankly, it just seems selfish to me. He wants to help his grandparents, sure — who wouldn’t? — but he also wants to keep this beautiful home in his family. Other teens have started GoFundMe pages to raise money for Alzheimer’s and cancer research, veterans programs, wheelchairs for the disabled, summer camps and playgrounds for children with special needs, and all manner of selfless causes. Bryson has chosen as his cause his own family and, in effect, his own inheritance.
Having no other details about this situation beyond what I’ve been able to glean from a couple of online articles, plus the GoFundMe page, it would appear that Bryson’s grandparents are in over their heads, having bought a big beautiful home that, at the time, they could afford, but which they no longer can make the payments on. It’s not a family homestead they’ve had for decades. The grandparents had it built less than 15 years ago. Yes, I’m sure Bryson loves it, and I can understand his not wanting his grandparents to have to move away from their friends, but is this really a good use for GoFundMe? There is no indication that the grandparents are faced with becoming homeless, only that they can no longer afford to live in their beautiful house with a pool.
Others with misgivings
Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way. One visitor to the Facebook page Bryson set up for his cause posted: “What a fraudulent use of GoFundMe. Save it for people who are truly in need, not some poor kid who has to downsize a little from a luxury home. The worst case of e-begging I have seen in a long time.”
Bryson says if he can’t raise enough to buy the home, he will give his grandparents whatever money he collects to help cover their moving expenses. As I write this, he has received over 200 donations and raised over $8,000, with one woman donating $1,000.
I guess for some people the idea of Bryson’s grandparents having to modify their lifestyle and move to a smaller home is just too much to bear.