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Utah man's Venmo error of $3,500 gets national attention, plea from Budweiser

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Venmo conversation between Isaac Nowak and Travis Harwood (Photo: Issac Nowak)

A Utah man is getting some national attention after making a transaction error on Venmo - a digital wallet that allows users to make and share payments with friends.

Issac Nowak of Sandy, Utah, said in a phone interview that he's going to use the scan method from now on when he uses Venmo after mistakenly sending a Michigan man $3,500.

How that mistake captured a national audience began with a single tweet from that Michigan man's mother. That man is Travis Harwood of Ionia who let Nowak know a local news station, WZZM13, saw his mother's tweet and wanted to tell their story.

After the story aired and was published online, Budweiser took notice and posted a tweet of its own that stated:

OK Twitter, here’s the deal: one Venmo mistake led to a pretty expensive case of Buds. So we want to give Trevor the rest of the Bud that he 'paid for' and cover the money lost by Isaac. Who knows these guys? Help us out!

So, what's the story that captured the major brewing company's attention?

In short, Nowak was purchasing a camper that he had researched and scoured through classified ads to find for weeks. It was a big purchase that Nowak was excited about and neglected to confirm the recipient who possessed the same name as the person selling him the highly sought-after camper.

Nowak recounted his moment of human error, July 11th, saying:

My happy feeling instantly turned into nausea after all of a sudden realizing the person I was buying the camper from didn't receive the money I sent him and the person who did receive the money isn't obligated to send it back.

Angelica Sena, Nowak's wife, said the mistake "definitely put a damper on the whole purchase." She added:

The car ride back home was just thinking of every scenario to try and get our money back rather than being able to get excited about the new camper. But now, thankfully, we’re able to laugh about it all.

Nowak said he read through Venmo's Payment and Requests - FAQs and realized the only option he had was to send the unintended recipient a charge request for the same amount with a note asking him to pay him back.

"I thought, 'Oh man, it's gone.' I thought this guy's going to take a payday and move on," Nowak said.

Nowak then called his bank and asked for a freeze on his account since his Venmo is attached to his bank account but was told there wasn't anything that could be done. Nowak did the only thing he could do - beg for a refund from a stranger.

First, Nowak sent a couple of messages in the comments of the Venmo transaction to Hardwood explaining he'd made a huge mistake by sending him $3,500. He then searched Facebook and sent Hardwood a plea for reimbursement via Messenger. Then he waited.

Approximately six hours after attempting to purchase the camper of his dreams, Nowak got a message from Harwood. It read:

Just seen this, I will send back minus a case of beer I'm really thirsty

Nowak said he was more than willing to seal that deal and replied to Harwood saying, "For being a man with good morales I can respect that. You're a lifesaver." He agreed to allow Harwood to keep $20 for a case of beer. Harwood instantly sent $3,480 back to Nowak with the following salutation:

I will send that back right now, was golfing with my dad, did not see right away, just be lucky I'm a good guy lol. Will enjoy the beers have a good night.

While you'd think the story ends there, it may just be beginning. Nowak and Hardwood have become friends and with Budweiser's tweet, there still may be something yet to come. For now, Nowak said he's paying closer attention to his transactions on Venmo.

"I'm just probably going to be more mindful and double-check the recipient in the future," he said.

Stay tuned ... Harwood is returning 2News call for his side of the story.

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