What goes through your mind when you find yourself alone, at night? Fear? Panic? Apprehension? Another scary situation is being approached by a stranger when you're alone. We've all heard terrible stories of people being mugged - your heart might start to race as you clutch your purse a little tighter and hope you won't end up on the evening news.
So what happens when you put these two together situations together. Imagine Kate McClure's fear when she was approached by a homeless man on the side of the freeway when her car ran out of gas.
A stranger's kindness
But when this homeless man approached her he had no thought of hurting her at all. He didn't even want her money.
He told her, "Get back in the car. Lock the doors. I'll be back," and sure enough, he came back with gas for her car. The man, Johnny Bobbit, had spent his $20 dollars on gas so McClure could get home safely.
McClure was shocked Bobbit would do this for her. As he insisted that McClure didn't need to pay him back, she learned that he had been homeless for about a year and was working on getting back on his feet, but he never missed an opportunity to help someone in need.
McClure didn't have any money to pay him back that night but she promised she would come back. The next day she returned with her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico; after both talking to Bobbit, they realized they wanted to do more than just repay him for the gas he'd purchased.
How she returned the favor
McClure and D'Amico continued to visit Bobbit, bringing him water, snacks and other necessitities. Through these visits, they saw even more of Johnny's goodness.
The couple decided to start a GoFundMe page. They just wanted enough money for a couple months worth of rent so that he could have a place to stay while he looked for a job.
To their surprise, the page went viral.
Their fundraiser for $10,000 has almost reached $400,000.
There are stories that actually grab my heart and give it a tight squeeze. This is one of them. Kate runs out of gas on...
Bobbit is deeply humbled that this little act of service late one night has now given him an opportunity to rebuild his life.
This miraculous story shows that one person truly can make a difference. McClure was was able to take the opportunity to help someone who had fallen on hard times - something we all get the chance to do. Here are three things you can do to help others:
1. Donate money to worthy causes
With all of the fundraised money, Bobbit is meeting with a financial planner and a lawyer to make sure the finances are carefully used in the right way. He also wants to use the money to pay it forward as much as possible.
To help others, donate to people and organizations that will use your money wisely. Research where the money is going or simply ask individuals yourself. Even if you don't have much, a few dollars can help someone start to get back on their feet.
Sometimes volunteering can seem overwhelming. Instead of trying to change the whole world by yourself, simply open up sometime each week where you can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, hospital, pet shelter or other organization where volunteers are needed.
You may never know who you can help in the moment but if you are open with your time, you will find people who need your help.
3. Don't judge people
When Johnny approached McClure, she could have reacted with fear and judgment. Instead she made a different call. She made sure she was being safe, but allowed a stranger to show kindness. Then, she decided to help him more than just simply repaying him for the gas he bought her.
She went above and beyond to repay him for his kindness. The two are now friends, and neither will ever forget how the act of buying gas for someone in need has changed both of their lives.
It's important to remember that people are people and there is always something you can do to help a fellow person out.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.