Teleconferencing Fun OR: How PayPal Ended My Bloggy Break Within, Like, Three Hours

I promise that after this post I really am taking a break. I promise. But I have to say this right now because it’ll hang over my head all weekend if I don’t because I’m OCD like that, which I’m sure is a huge surprise to y’all.


A couple of y’all have emailed me to tell me that you’ve received phone calls from PayPal verifying your donations to Kelli. I didn’t think too much of it initially because we did raise a bunch of money in a short period of time, and I actually think it would bother me more if PayPal didn’t try to make sure that everything was on the up and up. So I just sort of chalked up their phone calls as “one of those things” and figured everything would be fine. And yes, as a matter of fact, I do have a big stamp that says “NAIVE” and I am currently pounding it all over my forehead.

Because around 6:30 tonight I got an email from Frannie, a sweet lady who reads and comments here regularly, and she relayed to me a phone conversation that she had with a man named John from PayPal. When I got to the part of Frannie’s email where she mentioned that John said he’d been unable to get in touch with me to verify the legitimacy of my “charity,” I went all Julia Sugarbaker in the middle of my living room and immediately picked up the phone to call PayPal.

Here’s a tip: the PayPal voicemail system does not understand a Southern accent. At one point I responded to some question by saying, “No,” and the voicemail man said, “I understood you to say, ‘I don’t have an account.’ Is that correct?”

Now I know my drawl is bad, y’all, but I don’t think that even I can give the word “no” six syllables. I can do four at best.

So after navigating the maze that is the PayPal voicemail system, and after I explained the nature of my concerns to a kind lady named MJ, I was connected to a delightful young man named Ryan (seriously: PP customer service reps are some of the nicest people ever). By this point I had called Kelli on my cell phone so that I could get all the verification information on the PayPal account since I had asked her to change the password and security stuff a couple of days ago (so that I would no longer be up in her business), and oh, poor Ryan. I am afraid that he got an earful from me. It was a very Southern earful, and a very polite earful, but it was an earful nonetheless. I was pretty upset.

And let me be clear: I’m not upset that PayPal is calling people to make sure they authorized the donations that showed up on the For Kelli account. I think, if anything, that’s very wise, especially considering that this is the internet and fraud is rampant and you really can’t be too careful. But what stuck in my craw was the statement that PayPal had not been able to get in touch with me, when no one from PayPal has called me, no one has emailed me, and certainly if they have any concerns about the money we raised this past Tuesday, no one from PayPal has bothered to communicate that to me.

And Ryan, bless his heart, said absolutely nothing to ease my mind. He said things like, “you’ve done all you can do up until this point” and “I can’t say whether or not we’ll be calling more donors” and “I completely understand but this is just part of our checks and balances.” I told Kelli later that I halfway expected him to follow up his “you’ve done all you can do” comment with “UNTIL THE TRIAL WHEN YOU’RE ON THE WITNESS STAND.”

By the way, I’m sure you think I’m overreacting. I probably am. But y’all know I have great paranoia about being taken advantage of by a RING OF THIEVES, not to mention the whole being misunderstood thing (especially when my integrity is on the line), and let’s just say that Ryan, completely unbeknownst to him, triggered both of those fears tonight during the course of our conversation. I was more than a little rattled by the time I got off the phone with him.

So then I immediately called Kelli because she’s all smart and level-headed and stuff. Turns out that PayPal called her yesterday, and she spent twenty minutes verifying her identity with a nice lady before PayPal would release the funds that were donated to her. And again, I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND PayPal’s checks and balances. It’s just not much fun when you’re the one being checked and balanced.

Kelli had the bright idea that we call PayPal with both of us on the line. I thought that was an excellent plan, and luckily Kelli knows how to place a three-way call because if it had been up to me I would’ve had to resort to the two-phone option (“KELLI, THE WOMAN AT PAYPAL JUST SAID…”). We were connected to an absolutely lovely woman named Jackie, and just so you know I will be THANKING THE GOOD LORD for her for the rest of my days.

Kelli very eloquently explained our situation: she needs a kidney, her insurance runs out at the end of January, I set up a place for people to make donations, people gave way more money than we ever expected, and now we’re a little concerned because 1) PayPal is making Kelli jump through some extra hoops in order to get her money, yet her COBRA payment is due on the 25th and 2) the phone calls that the PayPal people are (very wisely) making might could be worded a little differently so they don’t cause undue alarm to the people who donated to this little bloggy lovefest that resulted in over $9,000 in donations.


Jackie said that she didn’t believe that any more phone calls would be made to people who donated. However, if you do receive a phone call from PP, just know that they’re trying to make sure that you willingly donated to For Kelli. That’s a smart thing for them to do. Both people I talked to tonight said that they try to be very vigilant about making sure that people don’t use PP for fraudulent purposes, and they do check up on any charitable cause that is run through their website. I’m way on board with that. However, I’m still not on board with John saying that he’d been unable to contact me, especially considering that I practically wear my computer on a chain around my neck so that I am never away from the email.

Bottom line: Kelli has now jumped through almost all of the PayPal hoops. She is having to do some extra verification because of the amount of money involved (a new PayPal account plus a large sum of money raised over a short period of time equals BIG RED FLAGS with the PayPal people), so please pray that they’d have all that ironed out by the time her insurance payment is due.

I did have a couple of good laughs during our phone call, however. One was when Jackie said she couldn’t tell who was talking, Kelli or me, and I said, “JACKIE. I’M THE SOUTHERN ONE. FROM ALABAMA.” I don’t think Jackie thought that was as funny as Kelli and I did.

And then the classic comment was from Kelli: as she was trying to very graciously relay the details of her attempts to access the funds so she can pay for her insurance, she said, “Jackie, yesterday I pretty much had to explain to the other woman I talked to which way the pine trees in my yard are leaning in order to confirm my identity. I mean, c’mon, Jackie – I’m dyin’ here.”

There was a little pause for effect, and then Kelli said:


And Kelli and I hooted and again Jackie didn’t seem to see the humor in it at all.

But by the end of the phone call Jackie was completely awesome. I think everything is going to be fine. They have my blog address, my email address, Kelli’s personal information, Kelli’s medical information, and the oh-so-critical information about which way the pine trees are leaning in her yard. It’s all in the interest of protecting the tenderhearted charitable givers of the world, and in the end that’s a very good thing.

One more thing before I go: y’all placed a tremendous amount of trust in me to donate over $9000 to a cause that I mentioned just a little over a week ago. I do not take that lightly. So if you have any questions or concerns about your donations, about PayPal, about how we set up everything, about what exactly the money will be used for – ANYTHING – please do not hesitate to email me.

And if I don’t answer your email right away it’s because I’ve probably run down the road to pick up some fried chicken or something. But I’ll get back to you just as quickly as I can.

Sorry for such a long post, but I felt like all of that needed to be said.

And I’m returning to my bloggy break now.

See y’all later.

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  1. Oh my goodness, I think you are hilarious and amazing! And ROLL TIDE (I hope anyway, I might have missed that in your previous blogs…) we are most recently from Madison, AL! :) Thank you for being the person you are, you gave all of us an opportunity to help someone in need…what more could we ask for. Thanks for taking the time to explain all of it…by the way, LAUGHED OUT LOUD at your post…sending smiles from Tennessee…

  2. I got your back, Sister. :)

  3. Too funny!

    Can you pick me up some chicken too?

  4. As far as I’m concerned, your integrity is intact. You handled it all much better than I would have. Rest easy, we all support you and Kelli. Enjoy your break.

  5. I’ll take all thighs, extra crispy if you please.

    None to worry, we’re all behind you. And if you should need us to take a switch to PayPal’s behind, just give us a shout.

  6. Ok. I will just say it.

    The devil is just trying to meddle in this miracle that happened over the week. And rob you of your joy over it all.

    Ok. I said it.

    And I will pray it works out, Pay “pal” and all, for Kelli’s sake and The Lord’s Glory. :>)

  7. 24-piece family-sized bucket please. We like leftovers. Original recipe, two sides of mashed potatoes, one side of cole slaw, six ears of corn. Oh, and six extra biscuits.


    Absolutely ridiculous. Just refer them to your blogroll. We’ll straighten them out in nothing flat.

    Go. Enjoy your break. And give Sister a big hug for me because I’m telling you, I love that girl.

  8. Whew, what a mess! But it’s pretty amazing that even in relaying quite a little hassle of a situation, you can have me hootin’ over here too.

    We received three odd phone calls yesterday, which, as I usually do with strange unknown numbers, I did not answer… now I wonder if they were Paypal trying to reach me? We rarely get those kind of calls, so it would make sense, not that it really matters anymore, it seems. And don’t worry… if your integrity was being attacked, I think we’d all show up in that witness stand in the same number we showed up on Kelli’s Day. :grin:

  9. Rocks in my Dryer says:

    Very odd; I just think it’s sad they even have to check up on this stuff, you know? But you’re right–it’s good that they do.

    Hang in there. I’ll come visit you in the Big House and bring you fried green tomatoes. ;)

  10. I’m VERY sorry that PayPal has encroached on your desperately-needed-after-this-heroic-week-of-fundraising bloggy break, but I do confess that I am happy to hear that they are pretty thorough about funds raised through them. And, I would have laughed on the phone with you — poor Jackie probably had no idea what to do with the two of you. Now, unhook the computer from the chain around your neck and play an awesome game of CandyLand!

  11. – It’s like -5 degrees in Montana …

    – I’m standing in my GARAGE with a paint brush in one hand trying desperately to get a “little” project done to surprise my beloved (while my daughter rides her three-wheel in circles in the garage THROUGH MUDDY SLUSH) …

    And I received your little PayPal call!

    :) !!

    Seriously–it was my JOY to explain to this guy (paint drip drip dripping) all about you, your ministry & Kelli (daughter mud mud muddy) and how a tiny group of Christian women bloggers got together to help a dear sister in Christ.

    Couldn’t confirm the tree-leaning-angle-thingy … but he heard quite the story.

    Thanks for persevering!
    You are loved.

    God bless & g’nite,
    Tara B.

  12. Linking while laughing … LITERALLY.

  13. I’m glad you and Kelli are both limber enough to jump through all of those hoops!! I’d probably kill myself (and couple of other people, too!). Integrity check is good, so take a deep breath and praise God!

  14. I think you’ve done a wonderful thing here, and I was thrilled to have been a part of it. I’ll be praying for Kelli. Thanks for doing this!

    (Oh – and I got a hoot out of comment #1 – little does she know you’re an MSU Bulldog! GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!)

  15. grab some green beans with the chicken, wouldja?

  16. MMMM….CHICKEN…. (drool sliding down chin)…. ok, I’m back. Sorry about the whole PayPal thing, but hopefully it’s all taken care of now. I guess it’s comforting to know that they are at least checking on things, just not comforting to know they are doing it like the CIA (while insinuating that a crime was committed). No harm, no foul. WE know everything is on the up and up. Now, could you pick me up some biscuits and greens to go with my chicken please?

  17. boomama,
    Just for your a blogging book I read called “Who Lets The Blog Out”, the author told a story about a situtaion a little bit similar to this. There was this girl named Kelly who has “lukemia” and needed money for treatment. People started donating. Then later on (much later) they found out that the whole thing is “not true” and Kelli’s mom was just taking the money. Anyway, I just related the story to say that Paypal’s concern does happen in the internet.

    At any rate, I am glad everything is ironed out. AND AGAIN, thanks for doing all this. You’re a blessing to Kelly, and to the world of blogggers. God bless and enjoy your time with your family.

  18. I bet that Jackie had quite a story to tell her husband after her shift! And between talking to you and Kelli, how could she possibly not laugh? I think a conference call with you two sounds like something straight out of heaven :)

    Enjoy your break for real this time!!

  19. What’s the old saying? “No good deed goes unpunished?” Last night my husband and I were watching “20/20” about how people are using the internet to solicit money because they are in credit card debt due to buying too many Prada shoes with matching handbags. COME ON.

    I understand PayPal’s concerns. . .but a new kidney is a leeeeeeetle different than a new purse.

    I am glad that the directional leaning of Kelli’s trees put their minds at ease, and am hoping she gets her funds by next Thursday without further delay. Yea for us raising so much money!!!!!!

  20. bless your heart.

    And enjoy your break.

    (I’m right there with what Melanie said)


  21. Ask payPal for an “I’ve been verified pass” for next time you do a fund raiser.

    Yes, I believe there will be a next time because look at how much you’ve learned about this … it would be a shame to let that just drift off into the wild blue yonder.

    Listen, about that fried chicken, do you have a good recipe I could pass on to my husband? I haven’t had great fried chicken since I was a little kid at my grandmothers.

    What? Oh, no. Never … he. does. the. cooking. It’s self-defense.


  22. Leaning towards what Melanie said. You and Kelli handled it beautifully, much more graciously than I would have. Enjoy your rest and your family!

  23. Still laughing…. That was hilarious. I can only imagine Miss Jackie’s thoughts on you two.
    Glad everything all worked out…
    I love the way you express yourself….all Julia Sugarbaker…teeheee…you are hilarious…God love ya ladies…
    Prayers still sent up daily for ya,

  24. Phyllis R. says:

    I KNOW you’re not reading this because you’re on a well-deserved break (right? RIGHT!) but I just wanted to say I’m not worried one little bit about this whole operation (no pun intended.) Call me crazy because we’ve never met, but I trust you and know you are a woman of integrity. I agree with what Melanie said: this is just the devil trying to steal a little thunder from All The Good that was done last week. Don’t give it another thought; I know I won’t. Enjoy your break (and your fried chicken.)

  25. It is good that they are so vigilant, but oh my goodness. I just hate trying to reason with people over the phone. Yikes!! Thank goodness for Jackie. I’m sure all will be well now. Have a great break!

  26. Your part in all of this is remarkable. But from what I read you must be pretty remarkable. What a noble deed and so gracious and compassionate. It is no fun being in bad health and having doctors tell you things so perilous! I know a little about that but not like Kelli must. I am in agreement with you that some verification process must be in check but GRACIOUS GIRLFRIEND. I bet you were about to reach through and strangle someone. All that to say this. You done good. Kelli is lucky you are on her side. I think anyone would be lucky to be your pal. Pay Pal or not.

  27. Boomama, I just about laughed myself silly over the “two-phone option” comment. You’re just too much! I’m so glad that you got things worked out.

  28. Thanks for taking care of the hassle for us. We sure all appreciate it. Enjoy your break :)

  29. What Miss Jackie doesn’t know is that now she is the envy of all of blogdom. A conference call with the two of you? I can’t believe she wasn’t amused.

    Enjoy your break!

  30. Well, I must say I’m just a little disappointed that you’re not frying that chicken yourself.

    It’s all good, BooMama!

  31. Somehow I haven’t been reading your blog in a southern accent. Now I’m going to have to start adding that to the blog. It’ll take me longer to read, I’m sure (what with drawing out all those syllables and everything), but it will be more authentic. Thanks for your caring concern for friends.

  32. Sadly you are probably the first person to ever do such a thing on PayPal…so they were unexpecting.
    Pray for Paypal. Can someone make a button?

  33. You’re hysterical, but it cracks me up more, that Kelli in her situation, could make jokes too. This makes me hope I’m one of the lucky ones who gets a call from Paypal.

  34. Well, I missed al of this since I assumed you were still on your break…just decided to peek on over anyway, and I am so glad that I did.

    I am praying that the Lord will part the red-tape sea and smooth the way for Kelli to get her funds. Quickly.

    I’m sorry for all of your upset. If I could, I would e-mail you over a couple of liters of Diet Coke, PDQ.

  35. I haven’t gotten a call, but I’ll be prepared if I do. I’ve been telling people about what happened Tuesday all week long. Hopefully people will see that bloggers do more than “waste time” and ignore their housekeeping (although we can do that, too).

  36. So glad it is almost all sorted out! :) (you are a consistent riot!)

    I am just so darn THRILLED that your brilliant idea turned out to be such a ROARIN’ success!!! WOOHOO!!!

    Thank you girl – you are not only one of the funniest, most lovable bloggers in the land – but you have a sweet and generous soul. (and darn clever and creative to have come up with such a good idea!)

  37. “Run down the street to get some fried chicken” You slay me, girl!

  38. I could just hear the silence after Kelli said “I’m dying here”. I laughed and then I cried. Thanks again for doing such a great thing and for being patient with PayPal who is trying to keep us naive people from getting swindled.