INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There are a few extra smiles on kids at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital on Tuesday. That’s thanks to the generosity of a man who was able to take advantage of the latest stock craze surrounding GameStop.
In some ways, he’s one of the unlikeliest of people to donate, thanks to his hundreds of thousands of dollars of mounting student loan debt.
But in other ways, it makes sense. Aaron Schmid is a medical student who loves pediatrics and just felt like he had to pay it forward.
“They can enjoy that money more than I can right now,” he said.
Schmid dropped off three Nintendo Switches and games to kids at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital on Tuesday to help them get through tough days.
It’s a donation that really began a month ago when Schmid started investing in GameStop stock as part of the reddit “wallstreetbets” community.
“Don’t invest more than you’re willing to lose,” he advises.
For him, that was $3,000. It spiked, netting him $12,000 profit before he decided to sell last week.
“We as a collective want to show everybody that ‘Hey, we’re just redistributing this money to people that don’t have any,'” Schmid said.
Schmid is not your typical second-year medical student at Marian University.
He’s married and worked for four years as a pharmacist before realizing he didn’t like standing behind a counter to help people.
He wanted to give back and so, inspired by his Christian faith and another reddit user’s story, he went to the GameStop store down the street from Ascension St. Vincent, bought the video games and dropped them off at the children’s hospital Tuesday.
The total cost was about $900 for someone with $200,000 in debt before he started medical school.
“I couldn’t find any better way to spend that money than to give it back to some kids,” Schmid said.
Kaitlin Knapp is the clinical program manager at Ascension St. Vincent overseeing the healing arts department.
“Donations like this, when we can get immediately in the hands of kids, is so wonderful,” Knapp said.
Knapp said there are about 30 in-patient and ICU kids and very few portable game systems. Especially these days, with many teen common areas closed and fewer visitors allowed, the gift couldn’t come at a better time. With online capabilities, now they can play with their friends from the safety of their hospital rooms.
“To think about the kids and wanting to give back in that way, especially amid the COVID-19 crisis, I think that speaks volumes for humanity and people’s desires to help others,” Knapp said.
Schmid’s not sure where he will end up professionally. But it should be no surprise, perhaps at a hospital like this one.
“I love kids, so hopefully pediatric surgery, along those lines,” he said.
Schmid said he sold all his GameStop shares because he got too nervous but has picked up 300 shares of AMC stock which the Wall Street reddit community is also targeting.
He adds his wife is a cardiovascular technician at one of the local hospitals, so they live on that income. His efforts in the stock market are to try to build his retirement portfolio.