A homeless veteran who spent his last $20 to help a woman buy gasoline received more than $370,000 from the woman he helped, and now he wants to use some of the money to help others.
Marine Corps veteran Johnny Bobbitt announced his plan to “pay it forward” in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America Sunday morning.
“I just got her gas to help her get back on her way. I didn’t think anything about it. I wasn’t expecting anything in return,” he told Good Morning America. “That’s how I got the money to start with—from other people. [I had to] return the favor. I can’t constantly take and not give back.”
Kate McClure, 27, had been traveling from New Jersey to Philadelphia to visit a friend when her car ran out of gasoline.
The woman said Bobbitt, 34, approached her to help. He told her to wait for a bit and that he would spend his last $20 to help her buy gasoline.
Bobbitt kept his word and returned with a gallon of gas for her car.
“I almost couldn’t believe it,” McClure said. “I said, ‘Thank you. … I swear, I’ll be back. I promise I’ll be back to give you [the] money back.'”
McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, visited Bobbitt on the side of the highway over the next few weeks to provide him with gift cards and toiletries.
One day, the couple decided they wanted to do more to help Bobbitt, so they created a GoFundMe page to raise $10,000 to ensure the veteran would not spend the holidays on the streets.
They more than surpassed their fundraising goal, bringing in more than $370,000 as of Sunday afternoon.
Before he became homeless, Bobbitt served as an ammunition technician in the Marines and worked as a paramedic, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He had been living on the streets for more than a year.
In addition to using the money to find a place and buy a used truck, Bobbitt says he plans to give some of it to charitable organizations that help others in need.
“This money was given to help me. Why not help other people in similar situations or people that are actively helping other people in different situations?” he said.