In a truly uplifting story that is sure to earn him legions of adoring fans, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o recently revealed that he used his own person funds to help secure the release of a large fortune for a disenfranchised Nigerian Prince.
It takes a special person and a big heart to take this type of financial risk, but heart is something that has never been in question for Notre Dame's Te'o. When probed about how he could have faith in a Prince he has never actually met in person, Te'o explained:
"Faith is believing in something that you most likely can't see, but you believe to be true. You feel in your heart, and in your soul, that it's true, but you still take that leap."
And take a leap he did. Over the course of a year, Te'o says he communicated regularly with the Prince, sometimes spending hours on the phone.
"We would talk about his fortune late into the night, fantasizing about how we would spend the money. There were times I would fall asleep as he softly sang native tribal hymns through the phone."
But the journey to free the funds was a tumultuous one, filled with even more tragedy as Te’o would soon discover. After initially wiring a large payment to the bank in Nigeria, Teo's explains that he had to navigate through miles of red tape.
"It took awhile before the money was finally released. There were unexpected delays, problems with the paperwork, and I even had to bribe a bank official at one point. Finally after a year and multiple transactions the fortune was turned over to the Prince. At this point I thought ‘Great, now I finally get the payment I was promised’."
It is at this point in the story that you would expect the happy ending, but in a tale laden with tragedy, the worst was yet to come.
"I kept watching my bank account, sure that I’d see a substantial deposit, but it never came. After a few weeks I got an email from the Prince’s brother with bad news. On his way back to his village with the fortune, the Prince was eaten by a hungry crocodile and the money sank to the bottom of the river, never to be seen again. That is when I finally realized that my money was gone forever, and so was my dear friend."
But Te’o insists you shouldn’t feel sorry for him. As a man all-too-familiar with tragedy, he plans to use the Prince’s death as a source of inspiration, helping to propel him through his upcoming NFL career.
While some have questioned Te'o's story, he stands by his claim and is willing to produce the emails to prove it. I for one hope he is one day able to collect his share of the fortune. With his draft stock plummeting, he’s probably going to need it.