Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill reveals identity of long-anonymous donors of millions and their amazing story
After I finished, many individuals in the audience came up to thank me for speaking and offered support and encouragement. But one man stands out to this day. He was a slight gentleman who appeared to be in his late 60s or early 70s. Modestly dressed, in dated clothing; the stuff my father wore when I was a kid. He put an envelope into my hand. He said he was inspired and trusted me to use it in a way that would best help animals but demanded that his gift remain anonymous. I thought it would be rude to open the envelope in front of him, so I simply thanked him very much, promised he would remain anonymous, and continued to greet other guests.
It wasn’t until I got back to the zoo that I even remembered I had the envelope in my pocket. It contained a folded check. I expected maybe $25. When I opened it, I almost fell down. Ninety thousand dollars! My initial reaction was that there was no way this check could be valid, an assumption that still shames me. His appearance made me think that he had limited means.
The check was written in shaky handwriting. It looked like it had been written very slowly. Maybe this was an elderly gentleman who meant well but was a bit delusional regarding his financial capabilities? I prepared for an “insufficient funds” response from the bank — but the check went right through.