One of the most successful GoFundMe projects in recent history started with the goal of raising $2,500 for Jakeem Tyler, a Chick-fil-A employee a stranger spotted working despite being in a neck brace.
Tyler, employed at that location for 18 months, had been cleared by his doctor to continue working, so that’s what he did. He said he needed the money — But not for himself. Christmas was coming, and he and his family were planning to help feed the homeless. Currently, the fundraiser has raised $44,979 — far surpassing that original goal.
That’s good news for Tyler, and it’s good for those in need he wanted to help, because he’ll be putting the money towards feeding the homeless. All of it.
As the Daily Mail reported:
So what did 18-year-old Jakeem think about seeing his face all over the media, being shared millions of times on social media? He had no absolutely idea any of it had happened.
It wasn’t until a few days later when one of his brother’s friends saw the story being shared on Facebook and told the family. And it wasn’t until a few days after that that he and his parents were told about the fundraising page.
Jakeem had been asked about his injuries by dozens of customers and thought nothing of telling them the truth — even embellishing the story for the entertainment of children.
He told DailyMail.com: ‘People would come in and be like, “OMG what happened?” ‘If they had little kids I would be like: “I fought a bear,” but if they were other adults I would tell them I was in a car accident but I am blessed to be alive.’ So now that Jakeem knows he is more than $44,000 richer thanks to Cameron Nelson [who established the GoFundMe account] being so moved by his altruism? It’s certainly inspired him to think big, but not in the way one might expect.
He said: ‘I was amazed and I was so grateful. I didn’t look to get any attention or receive any donations from anyone. I’m just glad that so many people get to see my testimony and see that not all teens are bad and that there are good people in this world.’ The money raised has been ring-fenced and is in his parents’ control. It will be spent entirely on good causes – and Jakeem, who plans to go to college In Tennessee, now hopes he’ll be able to set up a charitable foundation with which to continue his good work.
He said: ‘I want to build a foundation for the homeless in Indiana and then nationwide and even worldwide.’
None of the money raised will be spent on his education. ‘I wanted to feed the homeless this Christmas with my money, so that meant me having to adapt to really only able to use one arm. I had to make sure I didn’t do any type of movements or lift anything to hurt myself even more,’ he told DailyMail.com.
What a guy. It’s no wonder he inspired a movement…
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter MattPalumbo12]