PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's an incredible story of paying it forward after a random act of kindness.
Kate McClure's car ran out of gas one night on I-95, on her way into Philadelphia.
She got out of her car and started making her way towards the nearest gas station. That's when she met Johnny.
"Johnny sits on the side of the road every day, holding a sign. He saw me pull over and knew something was wrong. He told me to get back in the car and lock the doors. A few minutes later, he comes back with a red gas can," Kate said.
He had used his last $20 to help Kate make it home safe.
"Johnny did not ask me for a dollar, and I couldn't repay him at that moment because I didn't have any cash," Kate said.
She was determined to pay him back. She started by stopping by his spot and repaying him for the gas, she gave him a jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks.
Kate later discovered that Johnny is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, as well as a former firefighter and paramedic.
She wanted to do more. So, Kate created a gofundme page to help him out.
Kate is using the money to help Johnny find a place to rent, get a car and a job.
"(I) truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. Hopefully with your help I can be the one to give it to him," she said.
Since then more than 7,000 people have donated, helping raise more than $225,000.
Kate provided an update on Thursday, tweeting:
"Johnny asked me to please stop accepting donations today. He is beyond humbled by the amount of support and love he has received over the last few days! He asked, instead of donating to his campaign, to maybe take a second to search for another worthy cause that, for whatever reason, hasn't gotten the attention his has. Later tonight, we will take some time to post a video with Johnny! He can't wait to thank all of you and wishes he could individually if possible. Mark and I couldn't begin to express how grateful we are."
The hope that this outpouring of generosity gives Johnny the fresh start he needs.
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