A random act of kindness made by a homeless man to a perfect stranger has become viral on social media.
The story started on a dark highway in New Jersey in October, where Kate McClure was stuck in her car that ran out of petrol.
She was forced to pull over and tried to walk to the nearest petrol station on foot, the Huffington Post reported.
But a nearby, a homeless man came to her aid. The man told her not to leave her car and lock the doors while he went instead.
McClure said the man, Johnny, spent his last $20 on a can of fuel for her.
Now, she’s returning the favour. And the story is all over the place: ABC News, Good Morning America, Fox and Time, among others.
McClure told The Philadelphia Inquirer that at the time her car ran out of fuel, she didn’t have cash on her to repay Johnny.
The next day, McClure and her partner came back to Johnny’s spot along the side of the road to return the money.
Then she made it part of her routine to stop by to chat with Johnny and give him a few dollars.
Rather than simply reimburse Johnny, she got creative: Earlier this November, McClure decided to set up a GoFundMe page for Johnny.
“I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day,” McClure wrote on the GoFundMe page. “He is such a great guy, and talking to him each time I see him makes me want to help him more and more.”
The campaign has raised over $300,000 ― far surpassing its $10,000 goal. Many of the 10,400 donors chipped in with $10 or $20.
McClure told US media that she originally intended to use the funds to set Johnny up in his own apartment with some essentials and enough money to last him a few months while he looked for employment.
“He is very interested in finding a job, and I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal,” she wrote.
“Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. Hopefully with your help I can be the one to give it to him.”
McClure said Johnny served with the Marine Corps and worked as a firefighter and paramedic. She even shared some photos of him from an old Facebook page.
After Johnny learnt about McClure's fund drvie, he told he to stop the campaign. He told her that he didn’t want to take advantage of the kindness of strangers.
McClure briefly suspended the campaign earlier this week.
But she resumed it by popular demand.
This McClure's own video of Johnny.
Now, faced with a huge surplus of funding, McClure said Johnny has “more than a few ideas of where this money can go.”
“He is fully aware of the interest in this over the last few days,” she wrote. “It will be his decision and his decision only on what organizations and or private parties he decides to help!”