NJ Man's Good Deed Sparks Outpouring of Kindness, $185K Raised for Elderly Woman
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A New Jersey man is doubling down on kindness and blessing others, even after losing his job recently.
Devan Bonagura has gone viral over the last few weeks for raising nearly $200,000 for an elderly Walmart employee so she could retire.
Bonagura worked for a third-party company selling phones inside the megastore when he came across Nola in the breakroom.
In a video posted to TikTok by Bonagura, the elderly woman looked beat down and exhausted after a day's work at the chain. She struggles to catch her breath on her break. Bonagura helplessly watches on.
"I saw her limping and it looked like she was having some trouble walking," he said in a YouTube video. "I felt for her. I felt really bad. And I was wondering at her age, 81 years old like 'why should she have to work at Walmart?' I felt horrible for her and she reminded me of my grandma."
Bonagura posted the video to the social media platform to bring awareness to the struggles the elderly face.
"Life shouldn't b this hard," reads the text on his video.
The 15-second clip garnered 250,000 views overnight and comments from TikTok users asked Bonagura how people could help.
"Gosh, I'm crying at work… I would go sit with her and ask how her day has been. The older people in the USA are often forgotten sadly," one user commented.
"THIS is who our money should be going to, our seniors and veterans in our country. We must take care of them!" one user shared.
Bonagura decided to start a GoFundMe page to raise $10,000 for Nola. Within 24 hours, more than $100,000 was raised. "It's absolutely insane and it just goes to show how powerful social media is," Bonagura explained.
He shared the happy news with Nola's daughter to ensure that her mother received the entire donation.
With the money he raised for her, Nola can comfortably retire and pay off her mortgage. "I am thankful for Devan and for what he has done, for none of this would have never been possible," she said in a follow-up video. "I wanted to thank everyone around the world who donated."
Nola added that she is leaving Walmart although she will miss her customers.
Meanwhile, Bonagura told his followers that he was suspended from his job for posting the initial video.
He told the New York Post that Walmart had received threats because of it.
"They're getting a lot of backlash, so they told me I need to delete the video and delete the GoFundMe and return all the money to the people that donated it, or they're going to get the cops involved," he told the outlet.
He added, "So, I told them to do what you have to do because I'm getting this money to this woman one way or another."
Bonagura was suspended from his job with pay as a result.
However, his acts of kindness have not stopped there. He had made it his mission to "bless others."
Recently, he tipped a Johnny Rocket's waitress $500 after ordering water. "We wanted to bless you," he said in the video.
Bonagura has also made it his goal to help the homeless and to reward others for their honesty.
"This has put me in a position, because of all of you amazing people that watched and supported, that I can now go out and do video helping people," he shared. "It would not have been possible without you guys and I thank you so much."
Bonagura's followers are still giving to Nola and she is still receiving donations. As of Wednesday, the GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $186,000.
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