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Woman raises $160,000 for homeless man who helped her

A New Jersey woman has raised more than $160,000 for the homeless man who used his last $20 for gas while she was stranded on the side of the road.

The woman and her boyfriend are now looking to find the good Samaritan a home and help him get back on his feet.

Kate McClure, 27, had to pull over on I-95 in Philadelphia during a trip to see her friend.

She spotted the man identified as Johnny Bobbitt on the side of the road, who seemed to tell she had a problem as she nudged the car to the side of the road.

“My heart was beating out of my chest,” McClure recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I didn’t know what the heck to do.”

He told her to lock the doors and disappeared.

Bobbitt, a former Marine who’s fallen on hard times, returned a few minutes later with a red can of gas — having paid for it with the last $20 to his name.

“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,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page set up for him.

The Florence, N.J., resident would bring him essentials — like a coat, cereal bars and water — at his usual spot whenever she visited Philadelphia.

She and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, wanted to do more, however.

So they kicked off the GoFundMe page intent on raising $10,000.

The money, she said on the page, would pay the first and last month rent on an apartment as well as expenses while Bobbitt got on his feet.

“Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. Hopefully with your help I can be the one to give it to him,” she wrote.

But the page has since gone viral, raising more than $161,000 as of Thursday morning. Most of the money has come in on Thanksgiving, since the account had only raised $34,000 by Wednesday night.

“It just blew up,” McClure, who couldn’t immediately be reached, told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

A week earlier it’d raised just $1,700 and even that was a big boon for the homeless vet.

“That changes my life, right there,” he said in a video taken by McClure.

Bobbitt told the couple he served in the Marines and became a certified paramedic. He arrived in Philadelphia a year earlier with a job lined up.

But it didn’t come through, he told them, and work became hard to find when he lost important paperwork.

He wound up spending the last year on the street, and made friends with two other homeless men.

A friend from North Carolina told the Philadelphia Inquirer his life was changed by drug and then money issues.

The couple found his Facebook page, full of pictures of him working on a medical helicopter.

The couple said Bobbitt is bent on turning his life around.

“He definitely has the drive,” D’Amico, 36, told the Inquirer. “He doesn’t want to be on the streets anymore. He wants to be a functioning member of society and not be sitting on a guard rail in Philadelphia.”

McClure posted a photo of Bobbitt on the GoFundMe on Wednesday night. The couple had taken him to set some essentials, and Bobbitt would spend the Thanksgiving weekend in a hotel until they found him a proper home.

“You guys are amazing! I hope everyone has a great holiday!! You’ll be hearing from Johnny soon,” she wrote.

Source:  New York Daily News



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