Nola Carpenter is hopefully breathing a bit easier this holiday season after an online campaign raised money to help her retire from Walmart.
The fundraiser started when TikTok user Devan Bonagura, who uses the handle @dbon973 on the app, shared a short video of Carpenter looking tired in a New Jersey Walmart’s break room.
Bonagura doesn’t work at Walmart but was in the store as part of his job with another company. “Life shouldn’t b this hard,” Bonagura typed over the image, with an XXXTentacion song playing in the background. Here’s the Nov. 2 clip:
He hashtagged the post #blowthisup — and blow up it did. The video has more than 31 million views, 4.6 million likes and more than 40,000 comments.
Bonagura quickly put together a GoFundMe for Carpenter, raising $100,000 in less than 24 hours. In a subsequent video, he met with Carpenter to tell her about the donation and learned more of her story.
She explained that the reason she’s still at work — at age 81 — is so she can pay off her mortgage.
“I’d accept it but I still have to work until I get the other $70,000 or $60,000 paid off the house,” Carpenter said when Bonagura presented her with the $110,000 that had been raised so far. “It won’t take long now … I’ll retire as soon as I get it!”
And right now, that plan is coming to fruition: When the GoFundMe account transferred over to Carpenter and her family, they continued to receive money. The family finally shut down the donations once they reached $186,318.
In a follow-up video, Bonagura asked Carpenter about retirement — and it’s in the works. Carpenter said she plans to retire at the beginning of the new year, but will stay on at Walmart until then so she can “help them out for the holidays.”
@dbon973 Update video with Nola ❤️ #nola #dbon #gofundme #viral #blowthisup #love #kindness #givingback ♬ original sound – DBON
Here’s hoping Carpenter enjoys many years of well-deserved relaxation in her paid-off house!