Imagine waking up and finding $150,000 magically deposited into your bank account. Thomas Fahling doesn't have to imagine it, because it happened to him one day this spring. The 73-year-old from Crystal, Minn., doesn't have his own business (he's a front-desk clerk), yet he somehow became the recipient of a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration, designed to help businesses struggling during the pandemic, per the Star Tribune. Fahling figured his financial institution, Sunrise Banks, would soon pick up on the error, but two weeks later, he still had the money in his account. That's when Fahling alerted bank officials to his windfall. "Someone was expecting that money," he says. "A small business could've gone out of business if I hadn't turned it in."
An SBA rep says she's not sure how Fahling came into his surprise cash, noting that in the early days of the PPP program, there was simply a lot of paperwork being quickly processed. In June, NBC News reported that small businesses that actually qualified for a PPP loan sometimes got funds sent multiple times, though in those cases it was usually because they'd applied for the loan at several banks to up their chances of getting a loan (in the early days of the program, some banks weren't being responsive to applicants). Fahling, meanwhile, says it would be great if he somehow came into that amount of government funding for a valid reason, "but not at the expense of some small business that otherwise might have to lay off workers and close the doors because somebody made an error." "I just wouldn't want this to happen to another small business," he adds to the Star Tribune. (Read more uplifting news stories.)