We’ve all heard about the scammers from another country that just need your phone number or email so they can wire you a ton of money. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you are better off ignoring those messages entirely. But that one percent of a time turned into an amazing story for one lucky Youtuber and a Liberian with an eye for photos!
Ben Taylor received a message from Joel, a man in Liberia. He was inquiring about a business opportunity involving importing electronic parts, but Taylor had no interest in that. He did, however, have an opportunity for Joel that would change both of their lives forever.
Taylor ran a business on the side that involved hiring freelance photographers to take pictures of their hometowns and the people that live there. If Joel was interested, Taylor offered him a gig doing the same in his hometown of Monrovia.
He decided to take a chance on Joel, based entirely on a few poorly-lit shots he sent over. Taylor coached him a bit, teaching him how to capture more light with the camera and to frame his subjects in an attractive way.
Joel’s pictures started getting really good and Taylor was wildly impressed at the inexperienced Liberian man. Soon Taylor was constantly receiving amazing photos portraying life, joys, and struggles in Monrovia. It was a world completely unlike his own and he was fascinated.
Taylor was so impressed by the photos that he created a book with just Joel’s photography. He named it “By D Grace of God,” something that Joel wrote in several of their emails.
The two had agreed to split profits from any of their projects 50/50, so when the book starting selling like hotcakes Joel was making a pretty penny! Taylor decided to donate his half of the profits right back into the Monrovian community, investing in books and supplies for school kids across the area.
They needed backpacks, pencils, books – you name it. In this day and age, education remains the most important gift that a child can receive. Taylor knew he wanted to provide something lasting for these kids and he definitely achieved his goals.
Taylor also started an Indiegogo specifically asking for donations for Joel’s family. They were struggling to get by, much like others in Liberia and they wanted to help out others as well. The campaign was a huge success and the local community has been totally rejuvenated – all thanks to a random email sent by an African man all the way to a Youtuber in America.
The internet has provided a lot of amazing things for our society, but few are as heart-warming as these types of connections. Ben and Joel would never have met in any other time and place, yet luckily through the power of coincidence they met and the rest was history!
“I’m just a regular guy!,” Taylor said in an interview with Good News Network. “I go to work and hang out with my wife and baby. YouTube is just a fun side hobby. But the response has been crazy. People have reached out to me asking how they can help.”
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