A 34-year-old homeless veteran received the gift of a lifetime after he helped a woman by giving her his last $20 when she was stranded on a Pennsylvania highway.
Kate McClure, 27, first met Johnny Bobbitt Jr. last month when her car ran out of gas on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, she wrote on a GoFundMe page she created for the man.
“He saw me pull over and knew something was wrong,” she said of Bobbitt, who usually sits on the side of the road each day. “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 to make sure I could get home safe.”
Since then, McClure has often visited Bobbitt, giving him money, clothes, food and supplies. Now, she’s decided to take her efforts a step further, raising more than $365,000 for the vet.
McClure told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, 38, were determined to help Bobbitt after the incident.
“We were like, ‘Man, if we could change this guy’s life,’ ” she said. “And that’s when we came up with the idea of GoFundMe.”
The donations quickly began pouring in after McClure shared her story. In less than two weeks, thousands have given money to the fundraiser to help Bobbitt.
McClure and D’Amico plan to manage the donations and use the money to rent Bobbitt an apartment, pay for his food, clothing, transportation and more, they told the Inquirer.
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“He knows where he’s at and he knows what he has to do to dig himself out,” D’Amico said, according to the Inquirer. “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.”
Bobbitt is originally from the Raleigh, North Carolina, area and was an ammunition technician in the Marines, according to the Inquirer. A friend of Bobbitt‘s in North Carolina told the publication that he was a talented paramedic with a “good heart.” The friend added that Bobbitt fell on hard times due to drug and money issues.
Now, McClure and D’Amico said Bobbitt is grateful for their help and they hope this money will help him get back on his feet.
“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,” McClure wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break.”
In a sit-down with Good Morning America, Bobbitt said he’s “overwhelmed” by the kindness that has come of his good deed.
“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,” he shared. “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.”
McClure has also arranged meetings with a financial planner and a lawyer to help Bobbitt handle the money. And while the veteran plans to use the funds to find a home and maybe buy a used truck, but he’s mostly set on paying it forward and donating to worthy organizations.
“I just want to do the right thing,” he said. “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 added, “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. I want to feel the feeling on the opposite end.”