Homeless Veteran Who Gave His Last $20 to Stranded Motorist Gets New House, ‘Dream’ Truck

It’s probably the most-appreciated 1999 Ford Ranger in the world.

byKyle Cheromcha| PUBLISHED Dec 6, 2017 2:42 PM
Homeless Veteran Who Gave His Last $20 to Stranded Motorist Gets New House, ‘Dream’ Truck

A homeless veteran who gave his last $20 to help a stranded driver is homeless no more after a crowdfunding drive raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, allowing him to buy a small house and what he describes as his "dream" truck—a 1999 Ford Ranger.

Johnny Bobbitt Jr. probably never expected his life would change one night this fall when he saw motorist Kate McClure run out of gas on the side of Interstate 95 in a rough area outside Philadelphia. In the original GoFundMe campaign description, McClure wrote that as she got out of her car to walk to the nearest gas station, Bobbitt approached her and told her she should return to her car and lock the doors, and that he would be back soon.

A short time later, Bobbitt returned with a small can of gas, having spent his last $20 to make sure a total stranger could get home safe. McClure wrote that she didn't have any money on her to pay him back, but that never even came up since Bobbitt never asked her for anything in return. She was inspired enough that she returned to the spot several times over the next couple weeks to bring him food, supplies, and of course, money for the gas.

But McClure and her boyfriend decided that wasn't enough to show their appreciation for his preternatural generosity. In mid-November, they launched a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising $10,000 to help Bobbitt get back on his feet and spend the holidays under a safe roof. His story struck a chord with people, and four weeks later the drive has raised just over $400,000 for the homeless vet.

A 1999 Ford Ranger—what else do you really need?, Ford Motor Company

And unlike with a lot of lottery winners, proverbial or otherwise, it seems like the money is in safe hands. According to McClure, the bulk of the money will be set up in two trusts, one that will dispense a small annual "salary" to Bobbitt and one for retirement purposes. A portion has been placed in a more accessible bank account for everyday needs until he gets a job, and the rest went to the purchase of a small house and his incredibly respectable dream pickup truck.

An undated photo of Johnny Bobbitt Jr. , GoFundMe

Bobbitt, who served in the Marine Corps and worked as a paramedic in North Carolina before becoming homeless, also plans to donate money to organizations that helped him during his time on the streets. He seems genuinely blown away by the whole experience, and determined to make the most of his second chance.

"I will never be able to put into words how I feel and all the emotions I have felt because of this experience. I wish I was able to meet and thank each and every single one of you that have donated to my campaign. I plan to one day go through and send a message to every person that I am able to contact," he wrote on the GoFundMe page last week. "I feel as though you believe in me, as cliche as that sounds. You made a donation for me to turn my life around and trusted me to make right decisions for my future. I will not let you down."