PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A New Jersey woman who got roadside aid from a homeless veteran in Philadelphia has raised more than $389,000 for him — enough to buy a home and his dream truck and provide him with a small annual salary.
Kate McClure said on a GoFundMe page she set up that an attorney and financial adviser helped 34-year-old Johnny Bobbitt Jr. come up with the plan.
McClure, of Florence Township, ran out of gas on an Interstate 95 exit ramp late one night in Philadelphia. Bobbitt walked a few blocks to buy her gas with his last $20. She didn't have money to repay him but went back to the area several times to give him the cash back and also to help him with food and water.
She and her boyfriend later decided to set up the online fundraiser to help him out. The campaign took off, and donations poured in from around the world.
Bobbitt, originally from Henderson, North Carolina, told BBC Radio on Sunday he's blown away by the generosity.
"It's all happened so fast. I'm just happy I'm getting a second chance at life," he said.
Bobbitt served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked as a paramedic in Vance County, North Carolina, before he became homeless, according to McClure and Bobbitt's Facebook page.
Details on how he wound up on the streets of Philadelphia have been sparse.
Bobbitt told the BBC it was a mix of "bad decisions and bad situations."
Two trust funds and a bank account were being set up for him with the donated money, McClure said. One fund will give him the ability to collect a small salary each month, and the other will work as a retirement fund, which will be invested by a financial planner.
"So when the time comes, he can live his retirement dream of owning a piece of land and a cabin in the country," McClure wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Bobbitt also wants to donate to organizations and people who helped him in the last few years during this rough patch in his life, she said.
And that dream truck? It's a 1999 Ford Ranger, she said.
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