A homeless veteran who used his last $20 to buy gas for a stranded motorist never dreamed that his good deed would later become a small fortune. Now, he plans to use the hundreds and thousands people have donated to help others.
Kate McClure met Johnny Bobbitt, a Marine Corps veteran, two months ago when she ran out of gas while driving alone on I-95 on her way to Philadelphia’s Center City, according to a GoFundMe fundraiser McClure set up for Bobbitt.
As fate would have it, McClure pulled over in one of the spots where Bobbitt holds a sign every day.
When McClure got out of the car to head to the nearest gas station, Bobbitt stopped her, told her to get back in the car and lock the doors, she said. Minutes later, he returned with a red gas can, the gas inside purchased with the last of the cash he received panhandling that day.
A homeless vet says he's been given a second chance in life after he received over $360,000 for helping a stranded woman buy gas. "It's like winning the lottery." https://t.co/32JcKqG6H8 pic.twitter.com/ou88AkB1Gy
— ABC News (@ABC) November 26, 2017
“I just got her gas to help her get back on her way. I didn’t think anything about it. I wasn’t expecting anything in return,” Bobbitt told ABC News. “That’s how I got the money to start with — from other people. [I had to] return the favor. I can’t constantly take and not give back.”
Bobbitt did not ask for anything in return, McClure said, but she returned in the following weeks to give him cash, clothes, snacks, water and toiletries. But she wanted to do more.
“I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day,” she said. “He is such a great guy, and talking to him each time I see him makes me want to help him more and more.”
McClure created the GoFundMe campaign with a $10,000 goal. She planned to use the money for first and last month’s rent for an apartment, a reliable vehicle and four to six months of expenses.
“He is very interested in finding a job, and I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal,” she wrote.
Within weeks, the campaign raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. By Tuesday morning, the total had reached nearly $385,000.
Bobbitt told ABC News that he plans on using part of the money to “help other people.”
After serving in the Marines as an ammunition technician, Bobbitt became a paramedic, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Bobbitt has been homeless for more than a year.
“It does get kind of lonely out there. People treat you differently … when you’re homeless,” he admitted. “People don’t look at you the same.”
But, McClure treated him like a “regular person,” he said.
McClure has hired a financial advisor to help Bobbitt use the cash responsibly, according to the GoFundMe page. He will buy a new home and well as his dream truck – a 1999 Ford Ranger. Two trusts have been set up in his name. One that he will be able to collect a “small salary” from and a retirement fund that will be “wisely invested” by a financial planner.
Lastly, Bobbitt will donate to the organizations and people who helped him get through the last couple of years.
Bobbitt said he just wants “to do the right thing.”
“This money was given to help me. Why not help other people in similar situations or people that are actively helping other people in different situations?” he said. “Everybody out there is facing some kind of struggle, so if I can touch their life, the way mine was touched, [it’d be] an amazing feeling,”
(H/T: ABC News)