An Ethics Hero Epic: Johnny Bobbitt, Jr, Kate McClure, And Americans

Kate, Johnny, and Kate’s boyfriend. I bet you can tell which is which…

I learned about this story days ago, and got so distracted by all the nauseating ethics news that I neglected to write it up. I apologize. This kind of story should always be the top priority.

Kate McClure of Bordentown, New Jersey, was driving through Philadelphia to visit a friend when her car ran out of gas in a tough section of the city. McClure pulled over, got out of her vehicle and began to walk to the nearest gas station. But Johnny Bobbitt, Jr, an ex-Marine who lives on the streets, saw her plight and immediately took charge. The neighborhood was a dangerous place for a woman to walk alone, he told her, and suggested that she get back in her car, lock the doors, and leave matters to him.

A few minutes later, Bobbitt was back with a full gas can, and gave Kate  20 dollars, the only money he had to his name,  to make sure she could get home safely.

McClure said she did not have money to pay Bobbitt back that night, but she returned several times to the spot where he sits, offering him a few dollars and useful items.. Then McClure started a GoFundMe for her rescuer. She wrote,

I would like to get him first and last month’s rent at an apartment, a reliable vehicle, and 4-6 months worth of expenses. He is very interested in finding a job, and 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.

So far, her campaign has attracted donations totalling almost $380,000 for Bobbitt.

The veteran has been homeless for over a year because of real problems. He has battled drugs, bad choices and probably emotional issues as well. I hope this story has a happy ending. So far so good, though. Johnny demonstrated exemplary ethics, sacrificing his own well-being for a stranger. Kate demonstrated genuine gratitude, empathy and concern, and took affirmative action to try to pay him back. And the American public, as it usually does, showed that when sufficiently alert, it knows how to reward good and selfless deeds.

14 thoughts on “An Ethics Hero Epic: Johnny Bobbitt, Jr, Kate McClure, And Americans

  1. Thank you, Jack. I saw that story and wondered if you would post about it. It was a big help to me, to lift me out of a funk due to the devastation of finding out more about Joe Barton than I wish had ever existed.

  2. As far as Johnny goes, he was a Marine. That’s what they do. As far as the young lady goes, she was human…that’s what WE do, demonstrate gratitude. Maybe those who wouldn’t have done either can define themselves as ‘persons’.

    • dragin_dragon wrote, “Maybe those who wouldn’t have done either can define themselves as ‘persons’.”

      I love the reference back to the comparison between a human being and a person. NICE!!! 🙂

      • Thank you, sir. By the way, I like to think of my self as a fairly high-grade cynic.up4daze has definitely got me beat. Way I see it, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a true story or not. It’s touching.

  3. Why do people assume this is a true story? Anyone can make any story up to pull at the heartstrings of the emotionally incontinent and create a gofund me donation page.

    • up4daze,
      Follow the link to the story and then follow the link within that story to the newspaper that did a little work on the story, it appears to be legit.

      I understand that there are good reasons to be skeptical when people are asking for money based on a heart warming story that you don’t know is true or false; however, this is a blog about ethics and this is a shining story about ethical people in the midst of a terribly unethical world. You can be as skeptical with your dollars as you want (I am too, I don’t donate to things like this either); however, I think you’ve missed the point of this story and how it relates to the basic topic that’s covered here every single day – ethics.

      Take the story for what it is and allow that warm feeling to wash over you. This should be a bit like that final moment in A Christmas Carol where Ebeneezer Scrooge, with an unfamiliar smile on his face, picks up Tiny Tim and that little boy looks out over the audience and says…

      “God bless us, every one.”

      (Lights fade to black)


      If it doesn’t naturally bring a tear to your eye, then it’s not the story nor the delivery that’s broken.

    • Well, I was listening to a radio show yesterday morning about this man. The I have been listening to this broadcaster and reading his columns for a number of years and consider him to be trustworthy and diligent.

      This story has some local interest since the man in question was originally from North Carolina. This radio show host was able to check out his background story — his employment and military history and at least some of his personal background. There is no doubt that he has a checkered past. He’s held any number of jobs and he was separated from the service (as opposed to completing his commitment). Apparently he has had trouble with drugs as well.

      All that is pretty consistent with the story that has been reported — we knew from the get go that this was a homeless person.

      As I understand it, the woman who set up the go fund me page has established two trust funds for this man — one for current expenses and one for retirement. I would think there would be records of these that could probably be checked. I’ve not heard anything that would be inconsistent with the story we’ve been told.

      I acknowledge that it’s possible this is some sort of clever scam, but I am sure it would come out sooner or later, and the appropriate authorities would take a very dim view of it, if so.

      This is absolutely a heart warming story and I am more than willing to take it at face value for now.

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