Sometimes, the internet is a lovely place to be.
There are “viral” stories of wrong number text messages turning into beautiful bonds; little boys raising money for their beloved pet dog; nurses discovering their new colleague was once their infant patient.
We like these stories.
And last November, you probably read a story that, too, made the world around you feel a little bit warmer.
A homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt, was sitting by the side of the road in Philadelphia when he saw a young woman pull over after her car broke down.
Kate McClure, 28, had run out of fuel, and she was preparing to walk to the nearest petrol station to buy some.
But 35-year-old Bobbitt, a former veteran, stepped in to get her home safe. It was almost midnight, so instead of McClure heading off alone into the darkness, Bobbitt offered to go himself. He soon returned with a can of petrol. He used his very last $20 to do so.
Blown away by his act of kindness, McClure and her 39-year-old partner Mark D’Amico set up a GoFundMe page to detail what happened and to crowdfund for Bobbitt.
“I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal,” McClure wrote at the time. “Please help this man get into a home.”
— Kate McClure (@getjohnnyahome) November 16, 2017
Social media, of course, inhaled the feel-good hit like cocaine. Donations started pouring in. McClure and Bobbitt’s faces were plastered on just about every news website, all over the globe. The fundraiser went onto amass more than AU$550,000 from more than 14,000 donors, rocketing past its original goal of $14,000.
Because when the news is groaning under the weight of negativity, these are the stories we cling to as we mutter: yes, there is hope for us yet.
Bobbitt said he felt like he’d won the lottery.
It was life-changing.
Or at least, it was meant to be.