The ticket would enable the holder to be in the “VIP purple zone” among those welcoming the pontiff outside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday. The seller confirmed the price in response to a text from a reporter posing as an interested buyer on Wednesday night.
“The price is five thousand dollars and I would like cash,” the seller said.
The sum was even more remarkable because all tickets to see the pope in New York had been distributed and meant to be free of charge. Others had posted pope tickets for sums ranging as high as $300, but nobody had come close to this guy.
“My son goes to a catholic school and each school was given 25 tickets and fortunately he won a ticket,” the seller continued via text.
“And he is willing to give up a chance to see the pope?” the seller was asked.
“Yes because he is very focused on his education,” the seller replied.
“Lot of money,” the seller was told. “Lot of cash to be walking around with.”
“You can come with your car and drop off the cash tonight and pick up the ticket,” the seller said. “I also live in a safe neighborhood.”
He apparently assumed that anybody ready to put up that much dough for a free ticket must have an automobile.
“Subway?” he was asked.
The seller telephoned.
“You interested in pope tickets?” he asked.
He reported that he was indeed near a subway. The purported buyer said he needed to think about it.
“OK, you got it,” the seller said.
He texted a picture of a ticket that had the words “POPE FRANCIS FIFTH AVENUE WELCOME” printed across the top. The numbers corresponding to the bar code were: M850005-1253045=01=1501825-150913
“Guest Name: 13109,” the ticket read.
On Thursday morning, the CraigsList ad had been taken down. The seller was asked by text if the ticket was still available.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Still $5,000?” he was asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“What would the pope say?” he then asked.
The seller did not reply.