“OK, boomer” is a phrase usually geared toward baby boomers, or older people, that just aren’t “with it.” They may be behind the times, so to speak, but at least boomers know how to look out for each other.
At least, that was the case for Gary Rider, 57. His doctor told him he needed a new liver, but the procedure would cost around $40,000. After trying and failing to raise money for his operation, a group of baby boomers swooped in to save the day.
A Difficult Situation
Rider used to be a welder, until an accident put him on disability for 12 years. “I was welding the conveyor belt system into a pit to allow the sawdust to go up to the press. And the guy drove a bobcat loader with forklift forks on it down into the pit that I was working in, and it crunched the whole right side of my body,” Rider remembers.
He spent the next nine months in the hospital, fearing he’d never walk again. He finally got back on his feet after two years of physical therapy, but his recovery was a double-edged sword: the pain medication destroyed his liver.
That’s when his doctor told him he needed a transplant. The diagnosis sent Rider into a bout of depression. “The first week was the hardest. I really didn’t know whether I was coming or going,” he said.
To raise money for the transplant, his daughter set up a GoFundMe account, but the site wasn’t getting much traction. They only raised $200 during the first two months. So much for crowdsourcing.
Rider started selling nearly anything he could find on Facebook Marketplace to make up the difference, including some of his most prized possessions.
“I’ve sold my guns. I’ve sold my hunting equipment, fishing equipment, you know, anything that I was able to sell,” he recalled.
He even tried to sell an old air compressor, hoping for a miracle. The compressor didn’t sell, but his listing caught the attention of some surprising characters.
The Kindness of Boomers
A Facebook group called, “A car group where everyone talks like boomers,” noticed the ad. Gary Easterling is a member and describes the group as “a troll group where a bunch of us get on there and just comment, God bless and crank your hog on people trying to sell, like, lawn mowers and stupid stuff. We’re just a bunch of heathens, basically.”
The group is known for doing all things boomer-related on social media. Christopher Glafenhein, one of the site’s administrators said, “Everyone essentially role plays as boomers on Facebook: all caps, numerous misspellings, irrelevant selfies attached to posts, always complaining about their wives, being aggressively conservative or Christian, etc.”
They started out as jokesters, making fun of Rider’s ad, but then they discovered why he was so desperate to sell. They responded with the message, “OK, boomer, we’ll help”.
Members of the group started flooding Rider’s GoFundMe page with donations. He ended up raising $50,000 within a few days, enough for his liver transplant and rehabilitation.
“I went from depths of desperation into thinking, well, hey, I got a shot after all,” Rider said.
Patrick Thompson, another member of the Facebook Group, is a voice actor and podcast host. He helped spread Rider’s message across social media to help him raise money. “People came together and did something out of the kindness of their hearts for somebody they don’t even know. It’s amazing. There’s a lot of good people out there,” Thompson said.
The comments section is full of ridiculous phrases and typos, including, “Hey, Siri, donate 30 buckaroos tword saving Gary’s liver and compresser,” “crank compressor 4 Gary Gobbles,” and “Raise hell an praise Dale borther!! Gemme an aman when u get that new livur!”
Rider closed down the fundraiser after passing his goal and plans to donate the excess to charity.
As for the air compressor, “I still have it. I never plan to get rid of it. That’s the greatest air compressor in the world,” Rider said.
We’re so glad Rider finally has enough money for his new liver. Never underestimate the kindness of boomers.