Couple’s Gift To A Homeless Man Ignites A National Controversy

Homelessness is a common issue amongst veterans in America. They often suffer from PTSD, have trouble adjusting back to civilian life, and must find work in an already competitive job market with no recent relevant experience. Though many organizations have formed to help vets, some still fly under the radar and end up on the streets.

In October 2017, a young woman named Kate McClure from Philadelphia found herself in an unexpected emergency. When a homeless veteran came to her rescue, she and her boyfriend seemed eternally grateful. The couple’s efforts to repay the man, however, soon became a vicious cycle that ultimately turned them into enemies…

Holiday photos always look joyful, but not every picture is what it seems. The couple on the right showed a big act of kindness to the man on the left, but this story doesn’t have such a happy ending.

It all started when Kate McClure, a woman in her late twenties, was driving down I-95 in Philadelphia when she ran out of gas and was forced to stop her car. There was no money in her wallet and her cell phone was dead.

Out of the shadows, a silhouette appeared. At first, Kate was scared. After all, she was a woman alone, stranded in a deserted area and a stranger was approaching her car. She had nowhere to hide though, so she waited to see what the mysterious person wanted.

The figure in the darkness turned out to be a homeless veteran, who was panhandling close by when he noticed someone having car trouble. He introduced himself as Johnny Bobbit, a college graduate who later joined the military and struggled financially and emotionally upon his return.

It is difficult for many veterans to find a job, and some are likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their declining mental health, which is how Johnny ended up on the streets. When he learned that Kate was in trouble, he offered to use his only $20 bill to get her some new gas.

Kate was incredibly grateful for his random act of kindness and was amazed that a person who had so little would still give it up to help somebody else. Thanks to Johnny, she could get home safely that night.

Kate insisted on coming back the next day with her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, to thank Johnny and bring him a few supplies to keep him warm and fed through the rough winter months. They gave him blankets, food, clothes, and a little bit of cash.

Still, the couple felt that they hadn’t done enough yet to truly repay Johnny and show him their appreciation, so they set up a page on the website GoFundMe to collect money for their new friend. Their target goal was $10,000, but they had soon received $400,000 in donations!

Johnny could not believe his eyes and ears when he learned that his story had touched so many hearts and that people all over the world were trying to help him. He had gone “viral” and even appeared on a few radio and TV shows to express his gratitude.

As Kate and Mark grew closer with Johnny, they learned that he was from North Carolina, that he had dreams of becoming a nurse, and that he was once engaged to the love of his life. He moved to Philly for a job opportunity but lost the job and his fiancée.

The couple created a plan for Johnny and his new money. He got a makeover, a place to stay, and a trust fund set up so that he wouldn’t be able to spend all his money on drugs. He was promised an apartment, a Ford Ranger, and a donation to other services for veterans. However, things did not turn out that way…

Kate and Mark did give Johnny a place to live, but instead of getting his own apartment, he stayed in a trailer on the McClures’ property. They did get him a car, but it was old and broke down soon after. Everything remained in Kate’s name.

The couple gave Johnny $25,000 in cash, enough to live comfortably for 2-3 months, but within 2 weeks he had spent it all. Like a drug addict, he couldn’t help but use the money to buy drugs. Still, he wanted to recover, and with the last of his cash, he bought boxes of Suboxone, a prescription drug to treat addiction.

After Johnny’s bender, he was asked to leave the property, and Kate and Mark sold the trailer. With nowhere to turn, Johnny was soon back on the streets. There was still a big chunk of GoFundMe money left unspent, but he had no access to it now, forcing him to file a lawsuit against his former friends.

In the lawsuit, which was filed late August 2018, Johnny accused Kate and Mark of using the collected GoFundMe money. He didn’t want to take legal action initially since the couple did help him at first and he didn’t want to seem ungrateful, but he knew it was the only way he’d ever see his money again.

The couple denied using Johnny’s money to buy themselves a BMW and fund several vacations to California, Florida, and Las Vegas. They also claim that they gave Johnny at least $200,000, rather than the $25,000 he said he received.

Still, there is evidence that suggests Johnny was telling the truth. There are photos of Kate and Mark on several luxury vacations and even some of them gambling, while neither of them received a notable increase in their salary.

As a result of the accusations made in the lawsuit and the circumstantial evidence found on the web, the Florence Township Police Department launched a criminal investigation into the lives of the young couple and the fund that was originally set up for Johnny.

The couple’s house has since been raided and their pricey new car has been taken into evidence. They were also given a deadline to surrender the last of the money, but according to Johnny’s attorney, there is practically nothing left of it.

Once again homeless and penniless, Johnny is unsure if he will ever see the money or his former rescuers again. All he can do now is follow the example of another man who lived a lot further away than Kate.

The existence of a homeless person is a lonely one. Yet, Jose Antonio went out of his way to befriend everyone he could in Palma de Mallorca. Over the years, he became a fixture of the Spanish city, though it didn’t help him with his predicament.

BBC

Nicknamed “Josete” by locals, he liked to think of himself as “el espíritu de la plaza” — the spirit of the square. He went out of his way to connect with everyone in his neighborhood, though life was far from kind to him.

Josete worked as an electrician in his younger days, until struggles with depression and mental health derailed his career. Without anyone to support him through these troubled times, he lost everything.

By 2017, the Spaniard reached his mid-50s, though he had the long hair and ragged beard of a much older man. He certainly stood out from the crowd. But was his unkempt appearance holding him back?

One Palma resident named Salva Garcia couldn’t help but notice Josete’s plight. A number of residents tended to brush off the homeless man, but Salva took the time to get to know him a little bit.

Facebook / La Salvajería

The former electrician now sustained himself on a series of small-time jobs, namely parking neighbors’ cars. Of course, he didn’t have a license to do so, which put him at constant risk for arrest.

YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

The parking gig pulled in enough money to keep Josete fed, but again and again, he came up short when looking at apartments. He just couldn’t scrape together the funds to rent a room.

While Salva unfortunately didn’t have the spare cash to get Josete back on his feet, he did suspect that he could help the kindhearted man. Salva explained to Jose that he was one of the best barbers in the city and asked if he wanted a complimentary haircut.

Figuring that a makeover could improve his job prospects, Josete agreed. But he did make one unusual request: he asked Salva to close the shutters in front of his mirror, so that he’d only see his reflection once the transformation was complete.

YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

Though the homeless man had decades of knots and tangles to work through, Salva was a true artist. He tore through the matted hair, and, gradually, a totally new man started to take shape.

GIPHY

Salva and his assistants uncovered portions of Josete’s face that hadn’t seen sunlight in ages. As the barber pulled out a bottle from a drawer, he revealed that his plan involved more than just trimming the displaced man’s hair.

He dyed Josete’s hair a dark, rich brown! Already looking far younger, one of Salva’s assistants moved on to his bushy eyebrows. The makeover proved a strange sensation for a guy who for so long only worried about where he would sleep that night.

Still, Salva’s magic wasn’t through yet. Knowing that clothes make the man, he supplied Josete with a crisp white shirt, fashionable pants, and a pair of snappy shoes. Suddenly, he looked more like a tech CEO than a vagrant.

YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

After pulling off every trick in the book, Salva could only hope that his friend would approve of the new look. Josete leaned forward in anticipation as the barber uncovered the mirror.

YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

When Josete first set eyes on his new look, he could barely speak. He looked fantastic, like a man who had everything in the world going his way. Josete wondered how the people of Palma would react to the change.

BBC

As Josete strutted his stuff down the city streets, quite a few of his neighbors caught sight of his makeover. They cheered and laughed in disbelief. He smiled and wiped away a few tears.

YouTube / Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studio

In certain cases, Josete had to introduce himself to people he saw every day. Paolo Bocardo, for instance, paid him to park her car each day, but she didn’t recognize Josete at all until he approached her.

Dr. Filmgood Audiovisual Studios

That afternoon, the former electrician took his usual place in the town square, but as a new man. He looked like a guy who was about to take the world by storm. One of his old pals even jokingly asked him, “Where’s your Ferrari?”

Daily Mail

A couple of years later, Josete was slowly but surely getting back on his feet. He got his vision fixed and adopted a more “George Clooney” look, which made him feel confident about the future for the first time in decades.

Daily Mail

It truly was an amazing transformation. And all it took, besides a haircut and new outfit, was Salva’s belief in Josete’s potential. Salva knew that, in many cases, the people with the least are willing to give the most to others.

Facebook / La Salvajería

This sentiment was echoed in the life of Dave Cochran, who, like Josete, was barely scraping by. If it weren’t for the company of his girlfriend and their dog, he would’ve been entirely alone in Kansas City — until he gave back to the right person.

The Kansas City Star

See, he lived in his old Chevrolet. The arrangement didn’t offer much comfort to begin with, but things got worse when someone smashed a couple of his windows. He had to tape trash bags over the gaps, which didn’t do much to keep the winter air at bay.

There was irony in his shattered windows, he knew. See, back in his drug-using days, he picked up a criminal record for breaking into cars. But in more recent years, he’d promised himself he’d leave crime and narcotics in the dust. He’d turn himself around.

One weekend in January 2019, Dave bundled up in anticipation of a snowstorm. He planned on waiting out the blizzard in his beat-up car, but a turn of events on a nearby street brought him out into the cold.

Despite the perilous conditions, quite a few drivers were still out and about, and a number of them seemed ill-prepared. Dave saw cars sliding and fish-tailing all over the roads. Some vehicles even got stuck.

NBC News

Alarmed, Dave’s first instinct was to hop out and help these people. He worried, however, that the sight of a homeless stranger approaching them would only make them panic more. Was getting involved really worth the trouble?

Realizing these drivers needed a hand more than anything else, Dave rushed out into the cold. He greeted the endangered drivers with a smile and pushed their cars through slushy patches, or dug out the wheels when necessary.

KCTV

After already sending quite a few vehicles on their way, Dave spotted one BMW that had really gotten into trouble. Caught in a snowbank, the car needed more than a push to break free. Luckily, Dave reassured the driver he knew exactly what to do.

NPR

The driver, who said he was late for a football game (they weren’t far from the Kansas City Chiefs’ stadium), watched as Dave attached cables from his Chevrolet to the BMW. With a rev of the engine, his truck yanked the trapped automobile right back onto the road.

Afterwards, the stranger, who introduced himself as Jeff, thanked Dave for the assist. He tried to give Dave a few bucks, but the Good Samaritan wouldn’t even think about it. When he wished Jeff a speedy trip to the stadium, Dave got a major bombshell dropped on him.

Instagram / Jeff Allen

Jeff wouldn’t be watching a football game that afternoon; he’d be playing in it. This anonymous driver revealed he was actually Jeff Allen, an offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs. They had a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts that afternoon.

KC Kingdom

If not for Dave’s intervention, Jeff never would’ve reached Arrowhead Stadium. Fortunately, he got to the locker room just in time for warm-ups. Although his focus was on the game, Jeff couldn’t help but keep Dave in his thoughts.

Kansas City Chiefs

Jeff and his teammates manhandled the Colts that day, and he wanted to give credit to the secret MVP of the game. The football pro, however, had no idea how to reach Dave again. He shared his story on social media, hoping Kansas City could help him.

USA Today

Within just a few days, Chiefs fans helped Jeff track down his snow savior. The athlete took the opportunity to personally thank Dave and to gift him a huge reward: two tickets to that weekend’s AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots!

KCTV

Though he was excited, Jeff admitted he wasn’t familiar with being in a packed stadium. “I am nervous as all get-out. I have never been here, I have never been to a preseason game, or regular season, this is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he shared.

The thrill of attending such a big event, where nobody was looking at Dave with pity or fear, was electrifying! Though, very sadly, the Patriots squeaked past the Chiefs in overtime.

The Kansas City Star

Nevertheless, Dave saw that evening as a total victory. It helped him really believe that he could turn his life around and reconnect with the world that left him behind. And thanks to Jeff’s social media activity, Dave had more surprises in store.

Chiefs fans set up a GoFundMe page for the down-on-his-luck hero. In addition to paying for new car windows, it also covered a five-night hotel stay for Dave and his girlfriend. He hadn’t slept in a warm bed for quite a long time.

Inspired by his selflessness, some local companies also donated clothes and other products to help Dave get back on his feet. For the first time in years, he could truly think about restarting his career and rebuilding his life.

Twitter / Steven Dial

The community’s support really overwhelmed Dave. He never expected so much; he just wanted to assist a few of his neighbors. Dave promised to keep giving back to Kansas City, and there’s no doubt he’ll have a home there for as long as he lives.

KCTV

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