Kate McClure’s heart pounded as she pulled over on the I-95 in Philadelphia.
She has never run out of gas. She thought she would make it down the I-95 with the low-gas light on.
“Needless to say, I was wrong,” McClure wrote on GoFundMe.
It was dark and she was alone.
“I pulled over as far as I could, and got out of the car to head to the nearest gas station,” McClure wrote.
This is when she met Johnny. He was sitting on a guardrail, his usual spot, and reading a book. He told McClure that it’s not safe and that she should get in her car and lock the doors.
A few minutes later he came back with a red can of gas. Johnny spent his last $20 to buy it.
McClure did not have the cash to pay Johnny back, so she came back another day and repaid him for the gas. She was so touched by Johnny’s gesture that she kept on coming back to bring him clothes, food, and a few dollars.
“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.”
One day, McClure brought Johnny a box of cereal bars among other things. The first thing he asked was if she would like one. Another time, McClure brought a case of water and some Wawa gift cards. The first thing he said was, “I can’t wait to show the guys,” referring to two other men he hangs out with. They support each other.
“If just those two statements alone do not give you a glimpse of the good heart this man has, I’m not sure anything will,” McClure wrote.
McClure decided to start a fundraising page for Johnny with a goal of getting enough money for a rent deposit for an apartment and several months worth of expenses so he can get back on his feet.
“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. “Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break.”
McClure set out to raise $10,000, but Johnny’s simple story touched the people who heard it. The fun drive skyrocketed to $212,930 collected by 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
McClure found out that Johnny is a veteran of the US Marine Corps and worked as a firefighter and paramedic.
“This is just a reminder that this could happen to any of us,” McClure wrote.
A lot of people reached out to ask if they could donate clothing and other items to Johnny, so McClure set up a time and place on Nov. 25.
McClure and her boyfriend surprised Johnny with a newspaper article and the news that they have raised $769 early on. His ecstatic reaction can be seen in the video below.
“Johnny has reflected on his life,” Mark D’Amico, McClure’s boyfriend, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He just needs a push in the right direction. I can’t imagine how hard it is. He’s from the Carolinas. He’s a thousand miles from home with nothing, nobody. Things probably snowballed to where he’s living under a bridge.”
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