If you had just $20 left to your name, what would you do with it? Would you buy yourself some water and some food? Would you spend it on transportation to get to a shelter? Or would you spend it on getting some warm clothes to make it through dangerously cold weather?
When one homeless man in Philadelphia was down to his last $20, he knew he would have to use that money carefully. However, instead of spending the money on himself, the selfless man did something incredible with the money…
Running On Empty
In late October 2017, 27-year-old Kate McClure was driving into Philadelphia from New Jersey to visit a friend. At around 11 p.m., her car started making noises when she ran out of gas while she was still driving south on the interstate.
Stranded In The Dark
“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,” Kate said. Kate 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.” Kate called her boyfriend, 38-year-old Mark D’Amico, who told her he would come pick her up. However, while sitting in her car, Kate looked up the nearest gas station.
Becuase the gas station wasn’t too far away, Kate decided to walk there since 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, her guardian angel came forward 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 could tell Kate was in trouble, so he introduced himself as she was getting out of her car and selflessly offered to help.
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, Kate saw Johnny 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 for Kate, but he selflessly spent the last $20 he had to buy the gas to make sure she could safely continue on her trip. Kate was amazed by the man’s kindness but was stunned that he never asked her for any money.
“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, Kate promised to repay Johnny 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
The couple went on their way, but couldn’t stop thinking about Johnny. In the following weeks, they returned multiple times to give him some more money, a jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks. Each time they visited Johnny, they learned more about him…
Johnny was 34 years old and the Raleigh, North Carolina native’s full name was Johnny Bobbitt Jr. Before becoming homeless, he worked as an ammunition technician in the Marines and then as a paramedic. He dreamed of becoming a flight nurse…
Nobody To Blame
But Johnny’s life took a turn for the worse when he got involved with drugs and then struggled with money problems because of it. “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 about a year and a half. Every time the couple stopped by to drop clothes, toiletries, and gift cards to local convenience stores, Johnny always shared with the other people that lived under a bridge with him…
Compelled To Do More
Kate and Marc couldn’t stop thinking about 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…
Back On Track
The couple knew Johnny desperately wanted 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 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 hoped they would raise enough money to help the struggling veteran get a second chance, but was stunned to see how many people wanted to help her cause. In just 27 days, people from around the world helped raised over $400,000…
When Kate and Marc told Johnny how much had been raised within the first few days, he was overcome with appreciation but requested they stop accepting funds. However, donors begged Kate to allow them to continue donating.
Doing The Right Thing
Johnny is amazed by what Kate and Marc have 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 acclimatise to normal life again and have a secure 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 struggling.
“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.”