The effort that went viral to raise $10,000 to help a homeless vet who used his last $20 to buy gas for a woman in trouble has now soared to more than $362,000, thanks to the kindness of more than 12,900 strangers.
The question now is, what does Johnny Bobbitt plan to do with all that money?
Mark D’Amico, who launched the fundraising campaign with his girlfriend, Kate McClure, who was the woman in distress, said they and Bobbitt, a Marine Corps veteran, will be meeting with a financial adviser and a lawyer next week to work out the details and to ensure the money is used wisely.
“He plans on donating a large portion [of the money] to causes that are close to his heart,” D’Amico said.
He said those causes include programs for “homeless vets and a few organizations that helped him the last year or two.”
Bobbitt, he said, also wants to help a woman who works at one of the organizations and who “always went above and beyond” her duties to help people.
On Saturday McClure posted on the fundraising page that she and Bobbitt were filming an appearance for “Good Morning America” planned for Sunday.
“Tune in tomorrow for Johnny’s story in his own words!” she wrote.
Bobbitt could not be reached for comment.
Although the online fundraiser has raised 30 times more than its original target on GoFundMe, there are no restrictions on how much money can be contributed.
A company spokesman said in an email Friday night: “GoFundMe campaigns do not have time limits and they can continue to receive donations above their stated goal amount. It’s completely up to the campaign organizer to keep the campaign open and continue to raise money for Mr. Bobbitt.”
D’Amico told CNN that Bobbitt spent Thanksgiving in a hotel after the couple gave him money for contact lenses and took him to a Walmart, where he bought a computer.
“He can’t wait to get on a computer,” D’Amico said.
He said Bobbitt plans to make a video to explain his intentions for the money.
Bobbitt came to the rescue of McClure, 27, of Florence, one night last month when she ran out of a gas while driving into Philadelphia on I-95.
She pulled onto an exit ramp where Bobbitt, 34, originally from the Raleigh, N.C., area, has been living. He approached, telling her that she should lock her doors and that he would use his last $20 to buy her gas a few blocks away.
“He said, ‘I’ll be back. Trust me,’ ” said McClure, who works for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Ten minutes later, he returned.
McClure had no cash to repay Bobbitt. She promised to come back and do so.
She and D’Amico repaid him the next day, and stopped by from time to give him some cash. Then they decided to start the fund, with the aim of helping Bobbitt get the first and last month’s rent for an apartment, a vehicle and expense money until he could find work. The response obviously has far exceeded that.