A homeless veteran who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars after he gave a woman his last $20 for gas, has revealed he plans to pay his donations forward. Marine Corps vet Johnny Bobbitt said he’s been ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity of strangers after Kate McClure’s fundraising campaign smashed its initial $10,000 target. Donations currently stand at more than $360,000 as money continues to pour in to help Bobbitt get back on his feet.
McClure, 27, started the GoFundMe campaign after she ran into trouble on Interstate 95 and Johnny Bobbitt Jr., came to her rescue with his last $20. Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, McClure said that she didn’t know what to do when she pulled over on the deserted highway just before midnight. ‘My heart was beating out of my chest.’
She phoned her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, 38, and asked him to come and get her. It was then that Bobbitt Jr. emerged from the darkness and approached her car. ‘Ten minutes later,’ D’Amico said, ‘she called me and said the guy brought her gas.’
The former Marine veteran and EMT was concerned for her safety along the stretch of road and told her to lock the doors and stay in her car while he went to fetch the fuel. McClure, who works for the New Jersey Department of Transportation said she didn’t have any money to repay him that night.
Bobbitt was reunited with McClure on Good Morning America on Sunday where he pledged to pay forward his donations to help others. ‘That’s how I got the money to start with, from other people,’ he said. ‘[I have to] return the favor. I can’t constantly take and not give back. This money was given to help me. Why not help other people in similar situations or people that are actively helping other people in different situations?’ he added. ‘Everybody out there is facing some kind of struggle, so if I can touch their life, the way mine was touched, [it’d be] an amazing feeling,’ Bobbitt said. ‘I want to feel the feeling on the opposite end.’
‘We drove away and went on with our lives,’ D’Amico said. But over the next few days the couple returned to the road several times to give him cash, clothes and food. They also got to know him more and talked about his predicament. 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 said.
D’Amico and McClure were struck by how Bobbitt refused to blame others for his situation. ‘I can’t stop thinking about this guy. I think about him all the time,’ D’Amico texted McClure. ‘OMG! Me, too!’ McClure replied. The couple said they were impressed by Bobbitt’s desire to share the gifts he received from them with his other homeless friends. This, they say, inspired them to do more. ‘They all look out for each other,’ McClure said. ‘Mark and I got back in the car and we were like, “Man, if we could change this guy’s life.” And that’s when we came up with the idea of GoFundMe.’
‘I just got her gas to help her get back on her way. I didn’t think anything about it. I wasn’t expecting anything in return,’ Bobbitt told Good Morning America. 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. He told McClure and D’Amico that he wants to live in Robbinsville, New Jersey and work at the Amazon warehouse.
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