A public relations boss briefly became the world's first quadrillionaire after a PayPal slip-up made him the richest man on the planet.
Chris Reynolds, from Delaware, opened up his monthly PayPal statement and was astonished to find he had suddenly been handed a whopping $92,233,720,368,547,800 - roughly 1000 times as much as the GDP of the entire world, which was a relatively paltry $84.97 trillion in 2012, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Somewhat ironically, Reynolds told the Philadelphia Daily News the error made him feel "like a million bucks", after he overcame his initial jitters. "At first, I thought that I owed quadrillions. It was quite a big surprise," he said.
Reynolds said he had generally used his PayPal account to buy vintage car parts, but the quadrillionaire quickly planned what to spend his newfound wealth on.
“I’m a very responsible guy,” he said. “I would pay the national debt down first," he told the local paper. "Then I would buy the Phillies*, if I could get a great price.”
Although his fortune would have made him 1,268,689 times richer than Bill Gates, who's worth about $72.7bn, Reynolds' time as the richest man in the known universe was shortlived. He logged into his account excitedly and was disappointed to see that his account registered only a big fat zero.
Now it's back to work for Reynolds, who runs a PR firm that boasts clients including the Kennel Club of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Land Title Association.
Paypal has not commented on the mistake, saying it does not discuss individual customers' accounts for privacy reasons.
However, the payment service did write back to the PR guy and father-of-three. "The sad part is that I got word that they still need me to renew the credit card that's attached to this account," he said. "So, even though I have 90 quadrillion dollars, they still don't trust me." ®
* For Blighty readers - Philadelphia's Major League Baseball team.