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Man who spent his last $20 to help stranded driver isn’t homeless anymore

In this Nov. 17, 2017 photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a CITGO station in Philadelphia. When McClure ran out of gas, Bobbitt, who was homeless, gave his last $20 to buy gas for her. McClure started a Gofundme.com campaign for Bobbitt that has raised more than $13,000.
In this Nov. 17, 2017 photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure's boyfriend Mark D'Amico pose at a CITGO station in Philadelphia. When McClure ran out of gas, Bobbitt, who was homeless, gave his last $20 to buy gas for her. McClure started a Gofundme.com campaign for Bobbitt that has raised more than $13,000. AP

The homeless man who bought gas for a stranded driver on the side of a Pennsylvania road with his last $20 isn’t homeless anymore.

After receiving almost $400,000 in donations, Johnny Bobbitt Jr. purchased a home on Sunday, according to an update on the GoFundMe set up by Kate McClure, the stranded driver.

“The feeling is indescribable and it all thanks to the support and generosity that each and every one of you has shown,” Bobbitt, who was from North Carolin, wrote in the update on Dec. 4. “I’ll continue to thank you every single day for the rest of my life.”

Bobbitt has started an Instagram account and will update his Facebook page for people to continue following his story.

In the latest update, he asked those who have come across his story to donate to a a GoFundMe paige raising money for a homeless veteran in Philadelphia.

“I’ve seen this man on the streets and although I wouldn’t call him a friend I think he is the perfect candidate to continue this string of kindness,” Bobbitt wrote.

To continue the kindness shown to him, he plans to donate some of the money to organizations that have helped him in the plast two years, McClure wrote in an update on Nov. 25.

McClure set up the GoFundMe after Bobbitt, then homeless and a stranger to her, bought gas for her when she found herself stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia in October.

That encounter changed his life.

The GoFundMe page was created on Nov. 10 and set up to raise $10,000. Almost a month later, more than 14,000 people have donated a total of almost $400,000.

Their encounter went viral after a New Jersey paper published their story. Other outlets followed: ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CNN, The Washington Post and People.

“It’s like winning the lottery,” Bobbitt told “Good Morning America.” “Of course I want to change my life. I want to give a lot of it away.”

Bobbitt, 34, is from Henderson, N.C., according to his Facebook page.

He’s a Marine Corps veteran who once worked as an emergency room technician for UNC Health Care and was a paramedic and firefighter in Warren and Vance counties. He apparently was studying three years ago to become a nurse.

Bobbitt served in the Marine Corps as an ammunition technician from 2002 to 2004, the Marine Corps Times reported.

He apparently did not complete his enlistment contract, usually a four-year commitment, with the Marine Corps and was discharged as a private, the service’s lowest rank, according to the report.

His Marine Corps personnel record did not show any deployments and his last assignment was with 1st Battalion, 10th Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the report said.

In a post in August 2014, Bobbitt wrote that he aspired to be a flight nurse, and in 2009 he posted a photo of himself standing in front of a Carolina Air Care helicopter.

But Bobbitt’s life, a friend from North Carolina told The Inquirer in Philadelphia, took a bad turn because of drug and money problems.

After living in different places around the country, Bobbitt moved to Philadelphia because he had a job waiting for him, nj.com reported. But the job fell through and he lost his paperwork, leaving him unable to work, according to the report.

Bobbitt often sat on the side of an exit ramp on I-95, and that’s where his life changed.

“You made a donation for me to turn my life around and trusted me to make right decisions for my future,” Bobbitt wrote in an update on the GoFundMe page. “I will not let you down.”

Since the outpouring of donations, two trusts have been set up in Bobbitt’s name, one for retirement and the other to give him a small stipend each year, McClure wrote in a update Nov. 28.

Bobbitt has set up a bank account, plans to buy a 1999 Ford Ranger and to get a job.

Timothy Milbert, 12, and his sister Taylor Milbert, 6, give a tour of their new home Wednesday evening in Bradenton.

Camila Molina: 919-829-4538, @Cmolina__

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