Donations for homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr hit $239k
Kate McClure, of New Jersey, started the GoFundMe campaign 12 days ago after Johnny Bobbitt Jr. came to her rescue on Interstate 95 by using his last $20 to buy her some gas.
Donations for a homeless veteran who gave a 27-year-old woman his last $20 for gas when she was stranded on an interstate in Philadelphia have reached a whopping $239,000.
Kate McClure, of New Jersey, started the GoFundMe campaign 12 days ago after Johnny Bobbitt Jr. came to her rescue on Interstate 95 by using his last $20 to buy her some gas earlier this month.
McClure updated the fundraising page on Thursday when funds reached more than $239,000 to say Bobbitt, 34, had kindly asked for the donations to stop given it was more than enough.
'Johnny asked me to please stop accepting donations today. He is beyond humbled by the amount of support and love he has received over the last few days,' she wrote.
But just an hour later, McClure was inundated with requests to open donations back up again so strangers could continue to support the selfless good Samaritan.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr (left), Kate McClure (right) and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a CITGO station in Philadelphia. Bobbitt used his last $20 to buy gas for McClure at the station earlier this month when she became stranded
Donations for Bobbitt had reached more than $239,000 as of Thursday afternoon and continued to rise
'Okay, well that didn't last very long. We just called Johnny explaining that many people are requesting the donations be left open,' McClure said.
'He is more than happy with the amount that has been raised so far and didn't want to seem like he is taking advantage. For the short time that we took it down, though, it is obvious that people still want to donate to this cause.'
Bobbitt has been receiving widespread praise ever since McClure shared her encounter with him from earlier this month.
She had run out of gas on the deserted highway just before midnight and started to panic. She had just phoned her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, and asked him to come and get her when Bobbitt approached her car.
He told her to stay in the car and lock the doors before he set off in search of gas.
McClure said she didn’t have any money to repay him at the time but promised to return. She went back with her boyfriend the following day and gave him back the $20.
Touched by his random act of kindness, McClure returned to the road several times to give him cash, clothes and food.
They also got to know him and learned he was a former Marine veteran and EMT who had fallen on hard times.
McClure said she didn’t have any money to repay Bobbitt at the time but returned to the road (above) several times to give him cash, clothes and food. She started a GoFundMe page 12 days ago that has been inundated with donations ever since
'Johnny said, 'Yeah, tell me about bad luck. But don't get me wrong. I'm here because of my own decisions. I got nobody to blame but myself',' D'Amico told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The couple said they were struck by how Bobbitt refused to blame others for his situation and they were unable to stop thinking about him and his predicament.
They noted how he was eager to share the basic necessities and food they gave him with his other homeless friends.
After a few visits, McClure started the online fundraiser with the hopes of using the money toward housing and other expenses.
'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,' she wrote on the fundraising page.
McClure, who initially set the fundraising goal at $10,000, said she planned to use any donations on getting Bobbitt his first and last month rent on an apartment, a car and at least four to six months worth of living expenses.
'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,' she wrote.
The donations poured in and quickly shattered the $10,000 goal within days. More than 8,000 people have donated to his cause.
Johnny is seen left holding a newspaper article about story of his encounter with McClure on the highway and what transpired afterward. On the right is an undated photo from happier times posted by a friend of his on social media
McClure and her boyfriend got to know Bobbitt and learned he was a former Marine veteran and EMT who had fallen on hard times. He was training to be a paramedic and is pictured above beside a medical rescue helicopter
In August 2014, Bobbitt wrote on his social media accounts that he had ambitions to be a flight nurse. He had been training to be a paramedic when he fell on hard times
McClure said during their various conversations she learned that Bobbitt, who is originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, served in the Marines as an ammunition technician.
He had been training to be a paramedic before he became homeless in Philadelphia 18 months ago.
Bobbitt encountered money problems, before turning to drugs and having several run-ins with the law.
He told McClure and D'Amico that he wants to live in Robbinsville, New Jersey and work at the Amazon warehouse.
'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,' D'Amico said.
'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.
'He knows where he's at and he knows what he has to do to dig himself out.
'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.'
McClure and D'Amico said that they will manage all of the funds that have been donated to Bobbitt. The cash will go toward renting an apartment for Bobbitt and paying for necessities like food, clothing, cellphone, and transportation