When 27-year-old Kate McClure drove to Philadelphia recently, her trip didn’t go as planned. Late at night and alone, she ran out of gas along I-95. She didn’t have any money on her and wasn’t sure what to do. Then a stranger came to her rescue.
“That’s when I met Johnny,” Kate McClure wrote online. “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.”
The man was Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 34, a former Marine and paramedic who has been homeless and for the past year. He moved to Philadelphia for work, but after that fell through he soon fell on hard times, became homeless, and has been living on the streets ever since.
“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,” McClure wrote. “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.”
So McClure started a fundraiser online to crowdsource $10,000 for the man who gave up his last $20 for her.
The story went viral almost immediately, and so far the donations for the homeless veteran have passed $385,000! Thanks to his simple act of kindness, along with the subsequent kindness of so many others, he will never have to worry about being homeless again.
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The chance at getting his life back has Johnny feeling not only overjoyed, but also generous — which seems to be his natural instinct. Along with securing a house and financial stability for himself, Bobbitt is giving away a portion of the donations given to him to people and organizations that helped him out during his struggles.
One simple, yet profound, act of kindness by Johnny led to Kate and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, to pay that kindness forward. The story touched thousands of people who gave from their pockets to help the homeless veteran get back on his feet, and now he is paying that forward as well to help others in need.
Watch an interview with Kate and Johnny in the video below!
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Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.