Terri Texeira has five kids, an expensive proposition in its own right, but one of them, Jonah, 9 at the time, had a costly habit fueled by ambition that was certain to buckle the bottom line. He was a golfer who wanted to attend the David Leadbetter Academy.
Terri knew that an online gambling concern, GoldenPalace.com, paid large sums of money for oddball schemes to promote its site (it had paid $28,000, for instance, for a grilled-cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary).
So, to help bankroll her son’s ambition, she came up with her own idea, to auction on eBay the rights to legally change her name to whatever the highest bidder wanted.
The online casino came in with the high bid, $15,199, and she legally changed her name to GoldenPalace.com.
Jonah Texeira never made it to the Leadbetter Academy; GoldenPalace.com, aka Terri, said the Leadbetter Academy tuition was $31,000 at the time. But the $15,199 seeded Jonah’s golf ambition nonetheless.
It was money well spent.
Last week, Jonah, now 20, reached the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur, [before losing to Brad Dalke, 3 and 2] (http://www.golfdigest.com/story/brad-dalke-proves-he-can-win-from-behind-too-as-he-reaches-the-us-amateur-final). He now is a University of Southern California junior who intends to make golf a career.
“That little incident jump-started our family financially so that we were able to send him to all these places,” she said on Tuesday, citing his junior golf travels. “It’s been quite a ride.”
GoldenPalace.com, who does puppy public relations in Los Angeles (“I put a lot of puppies in films,” she said), reminded her son of her name change last week. He laughed. She does, too, thrilled that it has all worked out. “He was 9,” she said. “As they get older, you never know whether it’s going to click. I would never have thought in a million years I’d be involved in golf now.”
And for the record, yes, she did go through the court process to legally change her name to GoldenPalace.com. And, no, she has never changed it back, though her California driver’s license still identifies her as Terri Texeira.
“We…hope that the money spent will go a long way in helping GoldenPalace.com’s family,” company CEO Richard Rowe said at the time. “Anyone that has kids knows the enormous expense that it requires to provide for them. We are happy to help GoldenPalace.com make ends meet.”