A former Apple retail employee is using his coincidental name, Sam Sung, to give at least $80,100 to a children's charity.
Sung, a former "specialist" at the Pacific Centre Apple store in Vancouver, British Columbia, is auctioning a framed employee T-shirt, lanyard name tag and business card on eBay. The proceeds will benefit a chapter of the Canadian charity Children's Wish in Vancouver, which grants wishes to ailing children.
The auction began Tuesday with a starting price of 99 cents and, 111 bids later, had reached $80,100 by mid-day today. There are still eight days left before the auction ends Aug. 15.
Sung's identity went viral in 2012 when an intrigued customer tweeted a photo of Sung's business card, as Apple and Korean electronics giant Samsung were entrenched in an intellectual property legal battle.
Sung, 25, said the idea for the auction was inspired when one of his old business cards fell out of a book, he wrote on his eBay page.
"I had a great time working for Apple and would recommend it to anyone," he wrote on the page. "I hope my old business card will go to another fellow Apple enthusiast with a sense of humour [sic] and the desire to help raise some money for a good cause."
He worked at Apple for three years before joining recruitment firm Holloway Schulz in July 2013.
Sung told ABC News that the $80,1000 auction level seems "audacious" but the bids seem to be coming from reputable eBay users, at least from a feedback perspective.
"I’m saddened that there are a lot of fake bidders, given the nature of the auction and Children’s Wish," he said, adding that he's communicating with eBay to find a solution.
Before the bids reached the tens of thousands of dollars earlier today, Sung wrote that because of fake bids, he is not accepting bids from eBay users without customer feedback or any new profiles created since Wednesday.
"I apologise [sic] sincerely but have been advised to do so for the time being. There have been a number of fake bids and I'm trying to protect buyers with positive feedback and eliminate fake bids," he wrote. "If you are genuinely interested in the auction and don't have a history of feedback or PayPal account, please reach out to me before bidding and we can figure something out."
Jennifer Petersen, director of Children's Wish for British Columbia and Yukon, told ABC News that she is "amazed and so excited" by Sung's idea and the interest in the auction.
"When Sam called me with his idea, I was of course thrilled but I believe neither of us thought it would get to this, especially so quickly. My staff and I are watching the frenzied bidding with much excitement," she said.
The average cost of her organization's "wish" is $10,000, she said. If the $80,000 level of bidding is accurate, Sung will provide funds for eight children's wishes.
"One of our recent wish children, who sadly passed away just after his travel wish, summed up his experience so profoundly by saying 'I forgot I was sick,'" she said. "Sam has made a choice to help us give another child and their family this gift."
She said Sung attended the nonprofit's inaugural gala last winter and has since volunteered to decorate "Wish boxes," which are given to all the "wish kids."
"Sam has clearly been touched by what we do and come with a creative way to support us," she said.
A spokesman for eBay said the company’s buying policy specifies that users can only bid if they really intend on purchasing the item.
“Not paying for an item after you place a bid and agree to buy has negative consequences, which can include permanent suspension from the eBay marketplace,” the spokesman told ABC News. “Sellers can use ‘pre-approved bidding’ to vet people bidding on their items giving them greater control over their auctions. We also offer a range of tools to help sellers manage auctions successfully.”
Apple did not to a request for comment.