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Women raises $100,000 for homeless veteran who gave her his last $20

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jnelsoninjax    9,211

A woman has raised nearly $110,000 (£80,000) for a homeless man who gave her his last $20 when she ran out of gas.

Kate McClure started the Gofundme campaign for Johnny Bobbit Jr who helped her out when she stopped on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.

Bobbit came to her rescue and walked a few blocks with her and bought the gas for her.

She didn’t have any money to repay him at the time but returned to the road several times to give him cash, clothes and food.

After a few visits, she started the fundraiser with the hopes of using the money toward housing and other expenses for the 34-year-old Bobbitt.

‘I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day,’ she wrote on the fundraising page. ‘Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. Hopefully with your help I can be the one to give it to him.’

Donations have poured in, and the fundraiser has shattered its goal of raising $10,000 for Bobbitt. About 2,000 people had given to the campaign by Wednesday evening.

Here’s what she said on her fundraising page: ‘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. Using his last 20 dollars to make sure I could get home safe.

‘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.

‘One day I stopped to see him and had a few things in a bag to give him, one of which was a box of cereal bars so he could have something that he could carry around and eat. He was very appreciative as usual and the first thing he said was “do you want one?” Another time I dropped off 2 wawa gift cards and a case of water.. the first words that came out of his mouth were “I can’t wait to show the guys” (there are 2 others he hangs out with and they all take care of each other). If just those 2 statements alone do not give you a glimpse of the good heart this man has I’m not sure anything will.

‘I am raising money for Johnny. With the money, I would like to get him first and last month’s rent at an apartment, a reliable vehicle, and 4-6 months worth 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.

‘Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. Hopefully with your help I can be the one to give it to him.

‘Please help this man get into a home. It is already getting so cold out in Philadelphia, and I can’t imagine what it will be like to be out there all winter. Any little bit will help.’

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+warwagon    10,074

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jnelsoninjax    9,211

Update: The amount raised as of 12:30 p.m. Friday was more than $300,000 from more than 11,000 donors, most of whom gave small amounts, ranging from $5 to $100. “Unreal,” Kate McClure said on her Facebook page.

Earlier story:

Kate McClure, 27, was driving into Philly on southbound I-95 last month to visit a friend when her car started sputtering. She pulled onto the nearest exit ramp and made it to the bottom just as she ran out of gas. It was 11 p.m. Dark. She was alone.

“My heart was beating out of my chest,” McClure said. “I didn’t know what the heck to do.” She called her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, 38, who said he’d come get her.

That’s when Johnny, a homeless man who often sits on the guard rail at the exit ramp, reading a book, depending on the kindness of strangers, appeared out of the night.

Johnny told her to lock her doors, sit tight, and he’d spend his last $20 to buy gas a few blocks away. “He said, ‘I’ll be back. Trust me,’ ” said McClure, who works for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

“Ten minutes later,” D’Amico said, “she called me and said the guy brought her gas.”

McClure had no cash to pay Johnny. She promised to come back and repay him. He trusted her as she had trusted him, and one random act of kindness soon inspired another.

The next day, the Florence couple drove by, thanked Johnny again, and repaid him. “We drove away and went on with our lives,” D’Amico said. But they kept returning, giving Johnny a few dollars each time, and talking for a few minutes.

They learned he is Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 34, from the Raleigh, N.C., area. He was an ammunition technician in the Marines. His Facebook page includes photos and posts that trace a romantic relationship from its happier days to its 2014 breakup.  He studied hard while training to be a paramedic and then worked long shifts, according to his Facebook posts, where a smiling Johnny stands tall in front of a medical rescue helicopter. In August 2014, Johnny posted that he aspired to be a flight nurse.

D’Amico, a building contractor, said one day they were talking about luck in people’s lives. “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.’ ”

A friend in North Carolina who had been close to Johnny said he has a “good heart,” was a talented paramedic, and was smart enough to become a doctor. The friend, who did not want to be identified by name, said Johnny’s life took an unfortunate turn because of drugs, and eventually money problems. According to public records, he had involvement with the criminal justice system in North Carolina.

In perhaps a premonition of his future, Johnny posted in November 2014: “It’s never too late to turn it all around. Be honest with yourself and others.”

He’s been homeless in Philadelphia for a year and a half.

The Burlington County couple were struck by Johnny’s willingness to take responsibility for his situation, and by his caring attitude toward two homeless buddies he lives with under a bridge.

Recently, D’Amico texted McClure, “I can’t stop thinking about this guy. I think about him all the time.”

To his surprise, McClure texted back, “OMG! Me, too!”

D’Amico went through his old winter clothes and pulled out an Eagles hoodie, a black knit cap, and black insulated gloves. He and McClure went to a Target and bought a six-pack of tube socks, a bunch of granola bars, and basic toiletries. They put everything into a backpack and brought it to Johnny, along with a blanket and two $10 Wawa gift cards.

“He was very excited,” D’Amico said. “He shook my hand and he gave her a bear hug,” McClure said, “He said he’d go to Wawa right away and buy dinner. He loves the pepperoni hoagies.”

“And the pepperoni and cheese bagels,” D’Amico said.

McClure said Johnny made it clear that he would share their gifts with his two buddies. “They all look out for each other,” she said. “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.”

Their page has far exceeded their $10,000 goal. The couple made it clear that they would manage all the GoFundMe donations, using them to rent an apartment for Johnny and pay for his food, clothing, cellphone, and transportation, and giving him a small amount of cash for walking-around money.

“Johnny has reflected on his life,” D’Amico said. “He just needs a push in the right direction. I can’t imagine how hard it is. He’s from the Carolinas. He’s a thousand miles from home with nothing, nobody. Things probably snowballed to where he’s living under a bridge.”

McClure said Johnny told them he wants to live in Robbinsville, N.J., and work at the Amazon warehouse there because the company offers health benefits.

“He definitely has the drive,” D’Amico said. “He doesn’t want to be on the streets anymore. He wants to be a functioning member of society and not be sitting on a guard rail in Philadelphia.

“He knows where he’s at and he knows what he has to do to dig himself out,” D’Amico said. “It’s almost impossible to dig himself out if he has nobody and nothing. If we can raise enough money to set him up for a few months, where he doesn’t have to worry about where he’s going to sleep and what he’s going to eat, then he can get a job and go about his life.”

McClure said that maybe what they’re doing for Johnny is selfish in a way. “Just to see him react the way he does is such a good feeling,” she said. “I mean, it really feels good.”

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T3X4S    4,518

Stories like this are a great break from the normal stuff on the news (the stuff the media thrives on).
Great story - nice people helping someone in need.  I hope the guy makes the most of it and gets that job @ Amazon & becomes financially independent.  Having a job will do wonders for one's self-respect.

I know when I was without work for a few months I started to feel lousy, the day Microsoft made me an offer I was on cloud 9... still am as a matter of fact.

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techbeck    5,276

Good deal.  Lot of money to get back on your feet an re-establish yourself.  Hopefully he puts it to good use and does not have any addictions to worry about.  Lots of factory/shop floor positions available that pay decent (above min wage) and do not require a lot of skill.

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T3X4S    4,518
13 minutes ago, techbeck said:

Good deal.  Lot of money to get back on your feet an re-establish yourself.  Hopefully he puts it to good use and does not have any addictions to worry about.  Lots of factory/shop floor positions available that pay decent (above min wage) and do not require a lot of skill.

I thought it was smart of the couple to manage the funds.  Giving $300,000 to an addict is just asking for trouble.   

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techbeck    5,276
1 hour ago, T3X4S said:

I thought it was smart of the couple to manage the funds.  Giving $300,000 to an addict is just asking for trouble.   

Ahh, good deal. I just skimmed the article.

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Shiranui    1,719

You mean there is actually more than one person in the US with the name Johnny Bobbit?

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T3X4S    4,518
26 minutes ago, Shiranui said:

You mean there is actually more than one person in the US with the name Johnny Bobbit?

I immediately thought, "wait a second - losing your pecker causes you to go homeless ?  I KNEW IT !!  "

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