Homeless Man Spends Last $20 to Keep Woman Safe; Then He Got his Reward

With all the ugliness dominating the news right now, let’s take a look at a case study in compassion every American can be thankful for.

The Associated Press (via the Miami Herald) reports that 27-year-old Kate McClure found herself with an empty tank on the side of I-95 during a drive to Philadelphia last month, but was saved by an unlikely good Samaritan: a homeless man named Johnny, who spent the last $20 on him to get her gas.

McClure pledged to show her gratitude, and did so in the following weeks by giving him cash, food, and gift cards to lighten his burden a bit, but it didn’t seem like enough, especially upon learning he was no freeloader:

Johnny, who’s 34, told McClure and D’Amico he has been homeless for about a year. He said he was previously a certified paramedic, and also served in the Marine Corps.

After moving around the country for a time, he came to Philadelphia a year ago with a job lined up and some money to buy a truck. But soon after the job fell through, leaving Johnny surviving off meager savings.

Later, he lost his paperwork, rendering him unable to work. One night on the streets turned into a week, and ultimately a year of homelessness.

Learning his story, and sifting through his old Facebook photos, McClure and D’Amico said they were shocked to see how quickly Johnny’s life had changed from that of a working man who vacationed on the beach to one living off the streets of Philadelphia.

So McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, devised a plan to help him get back on his feet — and to say it resonated with the community would be putting it mildly:

So they launched a GoFundMe campaign, putting an ambitious $10,000 goal and hoping to rein in a few hundred dollars to book Johnny a motel for a few nights where he could clean up, and start to get him under a warm roof and back on his feet.

As of Wednesday, November 22, 2017, the campaign has garnered more than $34,000 in donations, and continues to grow.

“It just blew up,” McClure said, noting that donors have come forward with $5, $10 or even several hundred after she’s shared the GoFundMe to various Facebook groups […]

The couple understands how their help in reaching out to landlords and vouching for Johnny’s character will help him overcome some of those hurdles […]

Johnny has started the process of getting his paperwork replaced, as he’s currently without identification or Veteran’s Affairs papers, McClure said. He hopes to get a job at the Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, and down the road, hopes to take the test to become recertified as a paramedic in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.

In addition to being an inspiring story of kindness being rewarded with kindness, there’s also a lesson here for how to exercise compassion in the political sphere. This happened because people got to know Johnny’s character and situation for themselves, which inspired them to reach into their own pockets. Contrast that with why billions of federal spending since LBJ’s Great Society has accomplished virtually nothing in the war on homelessness: because even with the best of intentions, distant bureaucrats are simply not capable of understanding and distinguishing the wildly-different circumstances of countless individual cases.

It should be a simple rule: the more local the charity, the more positive the results.