A story out of Moore, Oklahoma shows the power of what can happen when people look out for strangers in their communities and take action.
Michael Lynn was running some errands on June 15 on a hot Oklahoma day when he noticed a shirtless young man walking down the side of a service road. Sensing that the man needed some assistance he pulled up beside him and asked if he needed a ride.
The young man, Donte Franklin, 20, replied, "Yes, sir!"
Donte was doing his daily, eight-mile walk to the Buffalo Wild Wings on the other side of town where he works as a chef. After his shift, he does the same long, eight-mile walk back home. To make it to work on time, Donte has to leave the house three hours before his shift starts.
He walks an average of five and a half hours a day to and from work.
And yet, "I haven't missed a shift at all," Donte told Fox News, adding that he's never been late.
Fundraiser started for Oklahoma man who walks 17 miles for work www.youtube.com
"I'm like man he's walking a long way," Michael said.
Donte got into the car and they had a nice chat about Donte's life on the way to the Buffalo Wild Wings. When the two arrived, Donte pulled a clean Buffalo Wild Wings shirt out of his backpack and was ready to get cookin'.
Michael found out that Donte didn't have any cash to get a bite to eat so he gave him $20.
He was so impressed by Donte's work ethic that he shared a post about him on Facebook that went viral.
"I'm thinking this young man is truly on a mission to survive!" Michael wrote. "During the trip over there he told me a lot about himself because I asked ... I just want to wish him well ... may God bless him and I hope his days get better for him!"
The post inspired Michael to start a GoFundMe page to raise some money for Donte to get a car. In just five days, the fundraiser has raised over $27,000.
"I can really help my family with this," said Donte, "It's just a really good blessing."
But before Donte buys a new car, he needs to get his driver's license. To help him out while he waits, a local bicycle club has given him a bike that he can ride to work every day.
When asked where he gets his strength, Donte told Fox News that his mother is his greatest inspiration. Unfortunately, she passed away when he was a teenager.
"She passed away when I was 16-years-old. She had Hepatitis C. After she passed away it's just been hard for me," he explained.
via Michael Lynn / Facebook
The story highlights what can happen when one stranger offers help to another. "If it can make just one person go help someone else that's all that matters," Michael said.
Now, the chance encounter has resulted in a beautiful friendship. "I think we need to keep each other," Michael said, hugging Donte. "I love this guy like my own."
Donte is studying to be a welder and in addition to getting a car, hopes to use the GoFundme money to help his family.
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