A 45-year-old man who lives in an apartment building in downtown Cleveland has raised thousands of dollars after posting a sign on his window as a joke.
When Jett Croisant noticed his downstairs neighbor put up Trump banners in their window amid all the civil rights protests, he decided to put up his own sign. It read, “Venmo @Jet513 and I will tapdance at midnight.”
Croisant told BuzzFeed News he “did it for the humor” and “expected to get $3” from anyone who would see his sign IRL. That’s until a woman named Amy Ziemak, who lives across the street, took a photo of it and posted it to her Twitter.
“It picked up a lot of momentum from there,” Ziemak, 32, told BuzzFeed News.
Her tweet was liked a couple thousand times, but a re-share from a man named Mike in Seattle to his Twitter went hugely viral. Mike said he found the photo from a friend who had posted it to Facebook and didn’t realize Ziemak had originally taken it. His tweet has now been liked almost half a million times.
Croisant only got one Venmo payment for $4 prior to his sign spreading on social media. Over the past few days, he’s watched it grow exponentially. On Monday, he had nearly $6,400 in Venmo transactions from strangers on the internet.
By Tuesday it grew to well over $10,000.
“This is amazing,” he said, but he’s overwhelmed. He was previously planning to tap dance on Wednesday night, the same day he posted the sign. But as more funds are coming in, he’s waiting to raise more money. He’s planning to donate all the funds to the ACLU.
“Every two to three seconds I was getting Venmo-ed money. It didn’t slow down until Friday,” said Croisant. “Today it’s picked up again, and donations are starting to get bigger. The biggest donation I’ve gotten is $50 a couple of times.”
“At that point, I thought I should probably do something good with the money. I’m going to donate it all to ACLU. (He told BuzzFeed News he’d provide receipts of his donation.)
A woman has even sent Croisant actual tap shoes, that he’s currently waiting on, he said.
He’s also planning to make the actual tap-dancing a bigger production by filming it for everyone who’s now pitched in. Whenever the shoes come in, he’ll dance and then close the Venmo. He predicts and hopes by end of this week, he told BuzzFeed News.
Croisant also noted he doesn’t actually know who his downstairs neighbors are, and they’ve never met IRL.
“A couple months ago they put up the banners in the window and it was the dumbest banners ever. It frustrated me a lot,” he said. “When we had the protest in Cleveland, that night they took it down. A couple nights later, they put it back up. It didn’t make me too happy…so I thought it would be a kind of funny to do to annoy them.”
He initially thought it was fairly low-stakes.
“We’re not necessarily being mean, we’re teasing,” said Croisant. He has not heard from his downstairs neighbors, nor does he know if they’re aware of what’s been going on on the internet.
As his sign continues to spread online, Venmo payments are still rolling in.
“I’m a little taken aback by the whole thing,” said Croisant. But overall he added that he “love[s] that people are having fun with it.”
“I just want to annoy them a little bit ’cause they’ve been annoying me with their sign in their window,” he said.