Warning: This story includes social media posts with language that may be considered offensive.
Twitter often draws jeers for being a troll-infested dumpster fire, but comedian Patton Oswalt recently used the social media platform for a stunning act of goodwill: He encouraged fans to donate to a hater’s GoFundMe after Oswalt made a contribution himself.
Oswalt frequently criticizes President Donald Trump, and Twitter users who support the president often shoot back with insults. On Jan. 24, Alabama resident Michael Beatty directed a couple of tart tweets at Oswalt, prompting the star to reply.
Later, though, Oswalt tweeted that Beatty seemed to be going through some health struggles, and he linked to a GoFundMe page to which Oswalt himself intended to donate.
Aw, man. This dude just attacked me on Twitter and I joked back but then I looked at his timeline and he’s in a LOT of trouble health-wise. I’d be pissed off too. He’s been dealt some shitty cards — let’s deal him some good ones. Click and donate — just like I’m about to. https://t.co/6zRdZ430WG
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 24, 2019
Oswalt kicked things off with a $2,000 donation, and his followers jumped right in, many of them making small $5 or $10 gifts. Beatty’s original fundraising goal was $5,000, but thanks to Oswalt, he’s now topped more than $47,000 in donations.
Beatty, a Vietnam vet, spent eight days in a coma in December due to complications from diabetes, and had only raised about $600 toward his expenses before Oswalt stepped in.
“I would never have [imagined this] based on what I tweeted to him,” Beatty said in an interview with the Washington Post. “If anything, I expected a scathing retort or just to be ignored, but that’s not what happened.”
Oswalt, an award-winning stand-up comedian and actor, is no stranger to hardship himself. In 2016, his wife of 10 years, Michelle McNamara, suddenly died in her sleep while the couple’s young daughter was at school.
Since then, Oswalt has completed the book McNamara was working on when she died. He also wrote and performed an all-new stand-up special, “Annihilation” (which is now Emmy- and Grammy-nominated) and he landed a regular role on the NBC sitcom “A.P. Bio.”
Beatty and Oswalt have been in contact since Beatty’s GoFundMe went viral. Beatty tweeted that he’d been “humbled” by the support and that he’d like to meet Oswalt someday. Oswalt replied that he’s working on getting to Alabama, and he suggested ways to spread the love:
What a great way to end the day. If you want to pay this forward, maybe find a GoFundMe for a furloughed government worker who’s feeling the pinch? Or make a big-ass haul o’ goodies to your local food bank? Something? Anything? https://t.co/FSEowiBuyn
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 25, 2019
Good news is so refreshing, isn’t it?