One homeless man's act of kindness and generosity has inspired a New Jersey woman to give back in a big, big way. Kate McClure has raised more than $315,000 for the homeless man who spent his last $20 helping her get to safety after she became stranded on a Pennsylvania highway late at night.
"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," McClure explained in a GoFundMe campaign she started earlier this month. "Needless to say, I was wrong."
That's when McClure met Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a 34-year-old homeless man. But when Bobbitt approached McClure on the side of Interstate 95 that night, he had no intention of asking her for money.
"He saw me pull over and knew something was wrong," McClure wrote on her GoFundMe campaign page. "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."
McClure was touched by Bobbitt's act of generosity and while she couldn't repay him for the gas that night, she's been actively trying to repay his kindness since. "I have been stopping by his spot for the past few weeks," she wrote. "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."
But McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, wanted to do more for Bobbitt, who they say is a Marine Corp veteran who also once worked as a certified paramedic. "I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day," McClure told donors. "He is such a great guy, and talking to him each time I see him makes me want to help him more and more."
And so McClure began a GoFundMe campaign Nov. 10 with the hope of raising enough money for Bobbitt to get a reliable vehicle, first and last month's rent for an apartment, and enough to cover his expenses for four to six months. "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 in the campaign's story.
According to McClure, Bobbitt moved to the Philadelphia area for a job he'd had lined up. But when that job fell through, Bobbitt lost his apartment. However, what Bobbitt reportedly thought would be a few nights on the street turned into a year and a half after Bobbitt lost his Veteran Affairs paperwork.
Bobbitt was reportedly ecstatic and grateful to learn of the fundraising campaign. "God, that's amazing! Damn. Y'all did all that? That is awesome," Bobbitt exclaimed when McClure and D'Amico told him they'd raised $1,764 for him in a video posted to McClure's YouTube. "That changes my life, right there. That changes my life."
Bobbitt appeared overwhelmed with how many people had made donations or shared the campaign in an effort to help him. "People talk about Philly. You know, not good things," Bobbitt told McClure and D'Amico in the video. "I have honestly met more good people than bad, I really have. Like y'all! I mean that is amazing."
Then the campaign went viral over the Thanksgiving holiday, garnering widespread media attention.
McClure has since raised more than $315,000 for Bobbitt with the help of more than 11,000 donors. But according to McClure, Bobbitt is only interested in using a portion of the donations, just enough to help him get back on his feet and find a home and a job. Bobbitt reportedly has plans to donate the remaining funds. "He is more than happy with the amount that has been raised so far, and didn’t want to seem like he is taking advantage," McClure wrote in a recent update to her GoFundMe campaign. "He said that he has more than a few ideas of where this money can go."