A New Jersey woman has raised more than $110,000 in just 12 days for a homeless man who gave her his last $20 for petrol when she was stranded.
Kate McClure, 27, was driving into Philadelphia at 11pm just under two weeks ago when her car broke down in the middle of the road. She was despairing, stranded and scared when a homeless man offered his help – and his last $20 – to McLure.
Johnny Bobbit Jnr, 34, told Kate to get in the car and lock the doors, promising he’d be back with petrol – or gas for our friends across the ocean – spending his last few cents on this act of kindness.
She had no money to pay Johnny back, but McLure, who works for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, 38, returned over the next few days to pay his kindness forward.
As they got to know Johnny better, they were amazed by his story. He was an ammunition technician in the Marines, and then trained to be a paramedic.
Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, D’Amico recalled the Good Samaritan’s humility:
Johnny said, ‘Yeah, tell me about bad luck. But don’t get me wrong. I’m here because of my own decisions. I got nobody to blame but myself’.
The couple started bringing Johnny gifts like six packs of tube socks, thermal gloves, blankets and food vouchers, which Johnny insisted on sharing with his friends.
McLure was impressed with his ongoing generosity and decided to do more, adding:
They all look out for each other. Mark and I got back in the car and we were like, ‘Man, if we could change this guy’s life.’ And that’s when we came up with the idea of GoFundMe.
Donations have poured in, and the fundraiser has shattered its goal of raising $10,000 for Bobbitt with about 3,100 people having given to the campaign by Wednesday evening.
McClure and D’Amico said that they will manage all of the funds that have been donated to Bobbitt.
The cash will go toward renting an apartment for Bobbitt and paying for necessities like food, clothing, cellphone, and transportation. He will also receive a small amount of cash for walking-around money.
McClure wrote on GoFundMe:
Driving into Philly one night, I made the mistake of thinking that I would be able to make it all the way down I- 95 with my gas light on. Needless to say, I was wrong. I never ran out of gas before, and my heart was beating out of my chest.
I pulled over as far as I could, and got out of the car to head to the nearest gas station. That’s when I met Johnny. Johnny sits on the side of the road every day, holding a sign. He saw me pull over and knew something was wrong. He told me to get back in the car and lock the doors. A few minutes later, he comes back with a red gas can.
Johnny did not ask me for a dollar, and I couldn’t repay him at that moment because I didn’t have any cash, but I have been stopping by his spot for the past few weeks. I repaid him for the gas, gave him a jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks, and I give him a few dollars every time I see him.
I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day. He is such a great guy, and talking to him each time I see him makes me want to help him more and more.
The homeless war veteran fell on hard time in 2014, with a series of difficulties that led him to lose his home. After turning to drugs and a few run-ins with the law, he ended up thousands of miles from his Carolina home living under a bridge in the cold Philly winter.
D’Amico and McLure are determined to help him get back on his feet. After all, Johnny would do the same for them.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.