Rande Gerber Replaces Calif. Veteran's Stolen Savings After He Was Scammed: 'Pay It Forward'

Gerber personally replaced the $3,400 that was stolen from Benjamin Gardner — and gave the military veteran a little extra to "buy something nice for yourself and your family"

Rande Gerber
Rande Gerber. Photo: Ari Perilstein/Getty

A California veteran is beyond grateful for Rande Gerber after the businessman went out of his way to ensure that he'd have a memorable holiday season.

Earlier this month, military veteran Benjamin Gardner told KABC that he had thousands of dollars stolen after being scammed through a text message that appeared to be from his bank.

"It was like slow motion. I knew something bad had happened," Gardner explained to the outlet. "To be robbed under the guise of Wells Fargo... I think that is such trickery."

Gardner claimed he initially received a text, seemingly from Wells Fargo, notifying him of a $202.08 charge on his account, according to KABC.

The veteran confirmed he did not make the charges, and soon received a phone call from a number, reportedly with the same ID as Wells Fargo.

"I said 'Well, how do I know that it's you?' and he said 'Check the number,'" Gardner recalled to KABC. "I bounced it off the website and it for sure said Wells Fargo."

"He got me to log in, and I assume that he was looking exactly at the numbers in my bank account because he knew exactly how much to extract from the checking and the savings," he added to the outlet.

The person on the phone ended up scamming Gardner out of $3,400 by convincing him to send money through Zelle, according to KABC. The $3,400 was all he had in his bank account, per the outlet.

"I can't imagine other veterans who are already maybe having some mental challenges going through that around the holidays," Gardner told KABC, adding that he was "very depressed" following the scam.

But all that changed recently when Gerber, 59, caught wind of his story.

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The businessman — who owns nightlife companies and spirit brands and launched Casamigos Tequila with George Clooney — reached out to KABC, asking them to give Gardner an envelope on his behalf.

As Gardner later discovered, inside the envelope was a handwritten letter from Gerber and a generous check covering his losses — plus some!

"It made me mad and sad that people take advantage of others, especially a Navy vet that served his country," Gerber wrote in his note, which Gardner read it aloud to KABC. "I hope this makes your holiday a bit brighter and maybe others will hear your story so that it doesn't happen to other vets. Thank you for your service. PS: Take the extra [money] and buy something nice for yourself and your family."

Gardner was blown away by the kind gesture, telling KABC, "This just goes to show you that if you believe in hope, if you believe in God, good do things come around."

With the funds now restored in his bank account, Gardner said he plans on sharing it with others in hopes of spreading more acts of kindness.

"I'm actually part of Union Rescue Mission," Gardner explained to KABC. "What I'm going to do is, because something was stolen from me, I'm going give back to some people."

"I'm going give back to the Union Rescue Mission, which is an organization nonprofit which houses people in downtown L.A. for food and for Christmas," he added. "This right here will give me the ability to make someone else happy, so I'm going to pay it forward."

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