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PayPal makes man $92 quadrillion richer (temporarily)

A tiny error allows PR executive to feel richer than, well, PayPal.

Falling from the sky. AllTime10s/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

PayPal has something of an unpolished image.

No other brand name occurs more often -- and with greater promises of danger, danger -- in my spam folder.

But it's good to know that the PayPal service can be useful and even uplifting.

Please imagine, for example, how giddy Pennsylvania PR executive Chris Reynolds must have felt when PayPal made him $92 quadrillion richer -- $92,233,720,368,547,800 richer to be precise.

At least that's what his June e-mail statement told him.

Perhaps some might already have been considering whether to buy NewsCorp, BMW, and Exxon in the first morning's investment work.

Sadly, Reynolds suspected something might not be as it seemed. The PR professional does sell spare parts on eBay for a little extra cash on the side. However, he didn't feel that business was going quite that well.

He fell back down to Earth when he logged into his account and discovered that the windfall was full of hot air.

PayPal admitted to CNN that it made an error. The company itself doesn't have that kind of money. In a gesture of good grace, PayPal offered to make a donation to a cause of Reynolds' choice.

The amount was unspecified, but surely less than $92 quadrillion.

Still, these are the people who are in the vanguard of creating payment systems in outer space.

Please imagine the gravity-free conniptions that might be experienced by a future space traveler, should he or she suddenly be credited with a vast, unknown balance.