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.
October: Kate McClure runs out of gas on I-95 in Philadelphia and is stranded on the exit ramp where Johnny S. Bobbitt Jr. slept under a bridge. Bobbitt rushes to help, using his last $20 to buy her gas.
The next day, McClure returned with her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, to repay Bobbitt. They return several times to check on him, deciding they wanted to help in a bigger way.
Nov. 10: McClure announces on Facebook that she has created a GoFundMe campaign to help Bobbitt find a place to live. She asks her friends if they could "spare a few dollars" and to please share her post.
Nov. 15: The Burlington County Times publishes a story about McClure and D'Amico's efforts to help Bobbitt. The story receives more than 1,500 shares on Facebook and 10 posts on Twitter.
Nov. 20: NJ.com publishes a story on Bobbitt. 16,953 Facebook shares, 167 tweets
Nov. 24: Philly.com reports the GoFundMe campaign total has reached $300,000 from more than 11,000 donors, most of whom gave small amounts, ranging from $5 to $100. 47 Facebook shares, 5 more tweets
Nov. 26: Bobbitt and McClure appear together in a Good Morning America TV interview.
Dec. 8: More than $400,000 has been raised on GoFundMe to help Bobbitt.
SOURCES: Buzzsumo, Crowdtangle