Ryan Bridge talks to attendee of Auckland cash drop given second chance by Kiwi to fund newborn son's surgery

Ryan Bridge 07/12/2020

WATCH: Ryan Bridge talks to man who attended the now imfamous cash drop in Auckland over the weekend.

This is an article written by Newshub reporter Wilhelmina Shrimpton

A Palmerston North man who was left angry and empty-handed after a violent cash drop in Auckland has been given a second chance.

Work gear company The Safety Warehouse promised to fire $100,000 into a ticketed crowd of people who'd attended on Saturday in the hope of catching some cash. But many people were left with no cash and only injuries.

Wayne Lynch was relying on a windfall to help pay for his newborn son's eye surgery, and thanks to a well-known Kiwi, he finally got it. 

Without the money, his six-week-old son Elijah could go blind - he has congenital cataracts - and he needs two surgeries to remove them.

The operations themselves in Wellington are funded, but Lynch, who comes from Palmerston North, still needs to pay for accommodation, aftercare, and medication.

After travelling to Auckland on Saturday hoping for a windfall from the cash drop, he walked away with no money, just a wad of discount vouchers made to look like $5 notes.

"We didn't know whether we'd be able to get back to Palmerston North or back to Wanganui to pick up our kids. So we were stressing about that and then the whole stress with the surgery as well," Lynch says.

But professional boxer David Letele raised $1200 to help the family through Elijah's operation.

"We can take care of the accommodation costs, and, you know, food or whatever. We can definitely do that," Letele told Lynch.

Lynch says it's a "very overwhelming" experience.

"I don't know, I'll probably be crying the whole way home."

Letele says if you want to help people, you have to go into communities and see who needs it.

"See the groups that are already in the community doing the work and you support them. The company should be ashamed of themselves."

The Safety Warehouse says the event wasn't a prank or scam and people did receive cash.

"The vouchers that were also presented at the event were in addition to the cash that was given away. We never could have expected the inclusion of the vouchers would have created such hostility and a misunderstood narrative," the company said in a statement.

It said the event was based on a live cash draw with live music that was free to enter so anyone could attend.

"After completing our risk assessments it was decided that vouchers should be introduced too. This would assist with mitigating offensive behaviour between patrons. The vouchers consisted of discounts, free goods, house renovation discounts, free accounting services and more," it said.

"There was no intent to deprive, mislead or embarrass any person of any demographic or race. We wanted anyone and everyone to attend and to be a part of a great event. It was a first of this scale in New Zealand and unfortunately, a group ruined it for all."

It added it stands by the marketing and what was issued at the event, saying staff assisted when requested and frequent messages about where to go for first aid were sent out.

There was one person who said they didn't receive anything in the drop and "took it upon themselves to disconnect the power", which meant The Safety Warehouse couldn't communicate with anyone.

"We will be reviewing all CCTV/cameras and the individuals who assaulted, damaged property and contributed to putting many at risk, will be referred to police. We don't tolerate that behaviour in New Zealand and our genuine staff did not deserve anything of the sort," it said. 

"These individuals did not have to attend, it was free to enter and it was clearly showcased it was a lolly scramble and you may leave with nothing."

Lynch says he wants The Safety Warehouse to be held accountable.

But after losing his unborn daughter in 2019, he now wants to focus on healing his new son Elijah.

"That's why we call him our rainbow baby… he's a miracle."

This is an article written by Newshub reporter Wilhelmina Shrimpton