Editor’s Note: On Nov. 15, 2018, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office announced that the three central figures in this story had been arrested and charged with second-degree theft by deception and other offenses. Prosecutors concluded that their dramatic tale of rescue and redemption had been “completely made up.” Story detailing the findings can be found here.
The South Jersey woman who got roadside aid from a homeless man in Philadelphia and then raised more than $385,000 for him announced Tuesday that there is a plan for what to do with the money: There’s enough to buy the 34-year-old man a home and his dream truck, and provide him with a small annual salary.
Kate McClure said on a GoFundMe page she set up that an attorney and financial adviser helped Johnny Bobbitt Jr. come up with the plan.
McClure, of Florence, ran out of gas on an I-95 exit ramp late one night. Bobbitt walked a few blocks to buy her gas with his last $20. She didn't have money to repay him but went back to the area several times to give him the cash back and also to help him with food and water.
She and her boyfriend later decided to set up the online fund-raiser to help him. The campaign took off, and donations poured in from around the world.
Bobbitt, originally from Henderson, N.C., told BBC Radio on Sunday he was blown away by the generosity.
"It's all happened so fast. I'm just happy I'm getting a second chance at life," he said.
Bobbitt served in the Marine Corps and worked as a paramedic in Vance County, N.C., before he became homeless, according to McClure and Bobbitt's Facebook page.
Details on how he wound up on the streets of Philadelphia have been sparse.
Bobbitt told the BBC it was a mix of "bad decisions and bad situations."
Two trust funds and a bank account were being set up for him with the donated money, McClure said. One fund will give him the ability to collect a small salary each month, and the other will work as a retirement fund, which will be invested by a financial planner.
"So when the time comes, he can live his retirement dream of owning a piece of land and a cabin in the country," McClure wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Bobbitt also wants to donate to organizations and people who helped him in the last few years during this rough patch in his life, she said.
And that dream truck? It’s a 1999 Ford Ranger, she said.