If you had just $20 in your wallet, what would you do with it? Would you buy yourself some water and some food? Or would you spend it on getting some warm clothes to make it through dangerously cold weather? What this one man did was truly unexpected.
A Long Night Ahead
When one homeless man in Philadelphia was down to his last $20, he needed to use this money carefully. He did not know where he was going to sleep that night or the next time he would see a hot meal again.
Running On Empty
In late October, 27-year-old Kate McClure was driving from New Jersey to Philadelphia to visit her friend. At around 11 p.m., she noticed that her car began making noises, when she ran out of gas while driving on the interstate. This was quite a dangerous situation.
Stranded In The Dark
Kate spoke of the situation saying “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,”. She pulled off at the next exit ramp and pulled over at the bottom just as she completely ran out of gas…
Scared And Alone
“My heart was beating out of my chest,” Kate said. “I didn’t know what the heck to do.” She instantly called her boyfriend, 38-year-old Mark D’Amico, who told her to calm down and that he would come pick her up. However, while sitting in her car, Kate looked up the nearest gas station, but her phone was low on battery and she had no charger.
The gas station wasn’t too far away, so Kate decided to walk there since because it would be a while before Mark would get to her. However, just as she opened her car door to start walking to the nearest gas station, someone came to her to save the day…
A Selfless Gesture
Kate didn’t know it at the time, but when the car ran out of gas, she ended up pulling over right in front of a homeless man named Johnny. Johnny sensed that Kate was in trouble, so he introduced himself as she was getting out of her car and selflessly offered his assistance.
Johnny told Kate to get back in her car, lock the doors, and wait for him to come back. “He said, ‘I’ll be back. Trust me,’” Kate explained. About 10 minutes later, she saw the sweet homeless man walking back in the direction of her car, but she couldn’t believe what he was holding in his hand…
Every Last Dime
In Johnny’s hand was a red gas can full of fuel. Not only did he walk to the gas station so she didn’t have to go herself, but he also spent the last $20 he had in the world to buy the gas to make sure she could safely carry on with her trip. Kate was amazed by the man’s kindness but was stunned by something else too.
“Johnny did not ask me for a dollar, and I couldn’t repay him at that moment because I didn’t have any cash,” Kate said. However, she was desperate to pay him back, so promised to repay this selfless stranger for his kindness and generosity and the next day, Kate and Marc drove back to the spot Kate’s car broke down to give him money and thank him again…
Helping The Helper
Kate could not stop thinking about Johnny that whole evening. In the weeks that followed, her and Marc returned on several occasions to give him more money, and even a jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks so he would not freeze. Each time they visited Johnny, they learned more about this interesting character…
Johnny was 34 years old. His full name was Johnny Bobbitt Jr. Before becoming homeless, he worked as an ammunition technician in the Marines and then as a paramedic. His real dream, was becoming a flight nurse…
Nobody To Blame
Johnny’s life sadly took a turn for the worse when he got involved with drugs and then because of this, his money troubles ensued. “Don’t get me wrong,” Johnny said. “I’m here because of my own decisions. I got nobody to blame but myself.’”
Always Helping Others
By the time Kate and Marc met Johnny, he had been homeless for just over year and a half. Every time the couple came to visit him and to drop off clothes, toiletries, and gift cards to local convenience stores, Johnny always shared with the other people that lived under a bridge with him… He knew the importance of giving.
Compelled To Do More
Kate and Marc were truly touched by their new friend and wanted to do more for 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,” Kate said.
Kate and Marc decided to start a GoFundMe page to try and raise money for Johnny. Originally, their goal was $10,000, which they hoped to use to pay for the first and last month of rent at an apartment, a vehicle to get around, and 4-6 months worth of expenses. They didn’t know if they were being too optimistic but it was worth a try.
Back On Track
The couple learned that Johnny was desperate to get a job and get his life back on track and they hoped they could help him do it if they raised enough money in order to help him get started. “He knows where he’s at and he knows what he has to do to dig himself out,” Marc 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.”
Kate was really hoping that they would raise enough money to help the struggling veteran get a second chance, but was truly shocked to see just how many people also wanted to help her cause. In just 27 days, people from around the world helped raised over $400,000. They could not believe their eyes. They were touched by the kindness of other strangers.
When Kate and Marc told Johnny how much had been raised within the first few days, he was overcome with appreciation and was so grateful to them, but requested they stop accepting funds. However, donors really wanted Kate to allow them to continue donating.
Doing The Right Thing
Johnny was totally dumbfounded by what Kate and Marc had done for him, but insists he was just doing the right thing when he gave up all his money to help Kate. “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 said. “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…”
Set For Life
To make sure Johnny can get accustomed to normal life again and have a promising future, the money will be used to purchase a home so he never has to worry about going homeless again. The money will also be used to buy a car, set up two trusts in his name that will be invested and managed by a financial planner, and set up a bank account with funds for small, everyday expenses. Johnny plans on giving the rest away to the people and organizations that helped him while he was in a bad place.
“I just want to do the right thing,” Johnny 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? 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,” he added. “I want to feel the feeling on the opposite end.”