A military veteran who was homeless when he gave a stranded motorist in Philadelphia his last $20 for her to buy gas has been rewarded with money for a home, a truck and a retirement fund.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 34, a former Marine and paramedic, expressed his gratitude at receiving nearly $400,000 raised through a GoFundMe solicitation. He updated the page to say he has purchased a home.
"The feeling is indescribable and (it's) all thanks to the support and generosity that each and every one of you has shown," Bobbitt wrote. "I'll continue to thank you every single day for the rest of my life."
The story of his change in luck starts with Kate McClure, of Florence Township, N.J., who launched the fundraising effort for Bobbitt.
"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. Needless to say, I was wrong. I never ran out of gas before, and my heart was beating out of my chest. I pulled over as far as I could, and got out of the car to head to the nearest gas station. That's when I met Johnny," she wrote.
Bobbitt told her to return to her car and lock the door.
"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," she added.
McClure added that she didn't have money and Bobbitt didn't ask for a repayment. But she began returning to the scene to visit him, bringing food, water and clothing. Eventually she and her boyfriend created the GoFundMe page about a month ago to thank him.
McClure reports that Bobbitt will buy a home and his "dream truck" (a 1999 Ford Ranger). The location of the house was not disclosed. The rest of the money raised will be used to set up a trust fund from which he can draw a small "salary" every year, as well as a retirement fund set up by a financial planner.
Bobbitt says he'll also use some of the money raised for him to help support another campaign started by a young Catholic school student who is trying to raise funds for another homeless veteran in Philadelphia.