A young woman has raised over $280,000 for a homeless man who, she said, spent his last $20 to buy her gas after she became stranded on a major interstate. On a fundraising page she has since set up for the man, Kate McClure, 27, wrote that she pulled off an exit ramp on I-95 near Philadelphia late one night when she realized her car was running out of gas. A homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt, 34, spotted her vehicle and approached to offer her assistance, she said. “Johnny sits on the side of the road every day, holding a sign. He saw me pull over and knew something was wrong,” McClure wrote. “He told me to get back in the car and lock the doors. A few minutes later, he comes back with a red gas can.”
Say hello to Kate McClure, from Florence Township, New Jersey.
This past October, McClure was heading to Philadelphia to visit a friend when she ran out of gas on busy Interstate 95. McClure panicked and pulled over, wondering what to do.
“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,” she later wrote about the incident.
That’s when McClure met Johnny, a homeless man who’d witnessed her car struggles. Johnny told McClure to head back to her car, and lock the doors because it wasn’t safe to be out. Several minutes later, he returned with a gas can to fill up McClure’s car. He’d spent his last $20 to help McClure out of a jam.
The encounter had a profound effect on McClure. “Johnny did not ask me for a dollar, and I couldn’t repay him at that moment because I didn’t have any cash, but I have been stopping by his spot for the past few weeks. 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.”
Over the past month, Johnny and McClure built up a relationship, and McClure learned about his aspirations and goals — to someday have a permanent address again so that he could find a job.
Katie and her boyfriend Mark D’Amico wanted to do something that had a more lasting impact on Johnny’s life. So they started a GoFundMe campaign for him, hoping to raise $10,000. In its first 12 days, they’ve already raised nearly $225,000 from more than 7,500 people.
“I truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break,” said McClure on her GoFundMe page for Johnny. “Hopefully with your help I can be the one to give it to him.”