Heinz offered the fisherman a new boat with GPS, but he didn’t get enough money to buy one with a navigation system


The “ketchup boat guy” who was offered a new fishing boat with GPS by Heinz says he feels “kind of” disappointed after only getting enough money for a small boat and engines.

The company offered to give fisherman Elvis Francois a new boat complete with a navigation system after learning he’d survived 24 days lost at sea on just ketchup and seasonings.

Francois told Insider he could only afford to buy a small used boat and engines as the money Heinz gave him “wasn’t enough” for a sailboat. That’s despite the company telling The Washington Post it planned to give him “a new boat equipped with full navigational technology to avoid another disaster in the future”.

The ketchup maker launched a viral social media campaign in February to find Francois. Within days Dominican media outlet Emo News tracked him down and helped him connect with Heinz.

Photo of Elvis Francois' new rowboat
Elvis Francois said his new boat needs a paint job. 
Elvis Francois

Insider has learned that Heinz gave Francois 40,000 East Caribbean (EC) dollars ($14,800) for a new boat.

Heinz asked Francois if he wanted to receive money or for the company to buy him one, and he chose to take the money, both said.

The 47-year-old told Insider the cash couldn’t pay for a sailboat like the one he had previously, but that he could at least get a small vessel and resume fishing right away.

He added that he didn’t think he could ask for more because he’s “from a very small village” and doesn’t have “a proper education.”

“You can’t force anything in life, I just have to accept it as it is,” he said.

He spent EC$18,000 on a small boat and EC$20,000 on two motors. Insider has viewed documentation of the sum Heinz paid him and receipts for what Francois has spent.

“I wouldn’t go out in the water with one engine because it’s too risky, that’s why I had to buy two engines,” he added.

Francois said he needed more money to buy a GPS system and other parts including a steering wheel. He’s been selling fruit at his local market to make more money, he added.

Heinz insisted it “discussed the amount” of EC$40,000 and “expedited” the payment to Francois.

A Kraft Heinz representative told Insider: “We’re surprised and sorry to hear that Mr Francois is disappointed with Heinz’s monetary support. While our intention was to purchase him a new fishing boat, once we were able to locate and discuss with him directly, he indicated that money would be preferred and most beneficial.

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  1. If they offered him a boat he should allow them to buy him the boat. He agreed to take the money instead typical black people and now he complaining ?. They would buy him a better boat well equipped as they previously told him. I hope others will learn

    • I totally agree and I really hoped that he had family or friends to advise him accordingly!

  2. So he chose money over a new boat and is complain now?
    40k is the cost of an engine.
    He was ill advised and the 40k done and his boat is still on land.
    A new boat means gas and ready to fish.

  3. Penny wise and £ foolish. Look at the chupit little, old boat he has. It can’t even hold a fishpond. It is not equipped with a hydraulic fishpot hauler.
    Where is he going with that death trap?

  4. He is a greedy idiot! They offered you a fully equipped boat and your greed made you ask for money instead. I am happy this happened and I hope other people who think this was take note. In the mean time he needs to shut up and deal with the consequences of his actions.

  5. Dunce fucking dunce. Kraft heinze don’t let his ungrateful behaviour stop you from assisting needy small island fishermen

  6. If I were the accountant for Heinze I would never have offered him cash. I would either let him chose a boat and pay for it directly or I would ask him the type of boat he had and replace that.

    • @Sidelines: If you were the Accountant .You would only have one choice,pay.When those to whom you report has the authority to approve such payments.What the hell can you do,pay or resign?

  7. What a missed opportunity!

    This was such a heartfelt and heartwarming story, and I was so pleased he survived such an ordeal.

    The fact that he was offered a high end fishing vessel was such a great opportunity to create a business that could have put his competitors on the back foot, or even hire it out and enjoy the passive income from it.

    Money is only good if you know how to invest it well.

    I wish I knew how 😉

  8. He got EC $40K and not satisfied. The only thing Heinz did wrong.They gave him the $$$$$.Some persons are never satisfied.No matter what you did for them.

  9. Ungrateful much..

    Just know Heinz DONT owe u anything. It was just a good gesture on their part…so if u indeed wanted a new boat with navigation you should have accepted their offer to buy u one instead and STOP complain

    I just have stupidness

  10. Even if he took the cash, I would have advised him afterword that he should have financed 50K through the bank for his new boat, engine and the accessories that he mentioned. From the 40k, he could have put down 20k on the loan and keep his other 20k in his savings account. These are the things that make people rich.

    This way, he would go to the bank with a business mindset; a one page business plan of how he would sell his daily catch to pay back his loan over time. His is a well know celeb now so, I would have him to seek a deal with local hotel to supply seafood. Even to some local restaurants as well. The villagers would have already flocking him a the peer already so with this plan I guarantee you all that one boat would not be enough. With some employees and a second fishing boat after that first two year in business and the rest is history. Needless to mention, the fees he would charge the department of education to speak of his story to local school children about his ordeal at sea, how he manages to survive and how it propelled him into building a successful business.
    This is how we should start thinking in the Caribbean. The narrowminded thinking is not our fault. But with these little ones coming up…. Watch out, World! The Caribbean is coming!

  11. If they were willing to buy them a well-equipped boat but then also offered him the choice of taking cash instead the cash amount should have been the equivalent of the cost of the boat they were offering. It’s not fair to offer them a boat he doesn’t get to choose anything on it or how it’s set up or even what kind of boat it is so he takes the money only to find out it’s not enough to buy a boat of equal quality. What a jip. Heinz shame on you

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