Here’s a heartwarming story that will put you in the holiday spirit.
It begins on a cold night when a young woman named Kate McClure was driving down I-95 into Philadelphia. Her gas light was on, but she figured she could make it to her destination without needing to stop for a fill-up.
She was wrong: Her car broke down on the side of the road, and McClure was terrified. She was stranded. It was dark, it was cold and she had a long walk to the nearest gas station. Then, a man approached her. He was disheveled and appeared to be homeless. McClure was apprehensive. What did he want? Was he going to harm her? She knew the risks of being a woman alone in the middle of nowhere, and her mind filled with fear.
But the man introduced himself in a warm and friendly manner. He said his name was Johnny, and that he was a veteran and stood on the highway everyday with a sign asking for change or food. He saw her car pull over to the side of the road, so he knew she was in trouble. He told her it wasn’t safe on the highway, and he urged her to get back in the car and lock the doors.
Then, with the little money he had earned from panhandling that day, he walked to the nearest gas station. In a short period of time, he came back with a container of gas. He used his last $20, all the money he had in the world, to buy a tank of gas for this total stranger, all so that she could get home safely. Even though he had no home of his own.
As you can imagine, McClure was deeply moved by this man’s generosity. Over the next several weeks, she and her boyfriend would find Johnny and offer him food, warm clothing and small amounts of money. But McClure wanted to do more. She didn’t want Johnny to spend the holidays on the streets.
So, she started a GoFundMe page and she shared Johnny’s story with the world. She was hoping to raise enough money to help Johnny rent an apartment for a few months. But instead, she raised enough money for Johnny to be able to buy a house!
Yep. Originally, Kate set a fundraising goal of just $10,000, but people were so moved by Johnny’s kindness and generous spirit that they donated more than $400,000. Johnny then took that money and bought a house for himself, meaning that he can spend Christmas—and hopefully the rest of his life—in a warm, safe home, rather than on the cold streets. How amazing is that?
Johnny also plans to buy a truck so that he will have transportation and be able to secure a job. The rest of the money was set up in two separate trusts with a financial adviser at the helm. One trust will provide for his day-to-day living expenses, and the other will provide for his retirement when the time comes.
In other words, Johnny never needs to worry about being homeless again—all because he went out of his way to make sure that another vulnerable person made it home safely.
What an incredible story of human kindness!