Like many others around the world, Jose Villarruel has been struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 77-year-old from California has been living out of his 1990s-era Ford Thunderbird for almost a year now. He decided to reign from his position as a substitute teacher after the pandemic forced his hours to be cut.
Villarruel a.k.a “Mr. V” told Fox 11 Los Angeles, “I decided the school situation has changed completely and I believed that a job of a substitute was over. I managed to do all of the paperwork, all of the arrangements to get my pension. I got my check, but that check didn’t last long because I had debts already.”
Steven Nava, a former student ran into Mr. V and knew he had to help.
“Every day I’d go out to work around 5 a.m. and see him going through his trunk,” Nava told KCBS. “I just felt the need to do something about it.”
Nava took to Twitter to bring awareness to his former teacher’s situation and to ask for help in raising money. He ended up starting a GoFundMe to help Mr. V and raised more than $27,000 in six days.
TWITTER FRIENDS PLEASE HELP! every morning/ night I’ve always noticed this older man that would stay out in his car constantly at this parking lot near my house even when the weather was bad. He looked familiar and I’m sure alot of y’all have had him as a substitute in Fontana... pic.twitter.com/3hFpIAOMCO— stvnna ⚡️ (@thesteven7) March 6, 2021
Nava gifted the $27,000 check on Thursday, which just so happened to be Mr. V’s 77th birthday.
“I’m still trying to digest the entire experience,” Villarruel told KCBS. “It’s extraordinary, totally unexpected.”