Like much of the country, the weather in Oklahoma has been sweltering this summer.
Michael Lynn was out running errands one day when he saw a young man walking on a baking sidewalk. A little while later, he spotted the same stranger again, several miles down the road. Curious, he pulled over to see if he could help.
The young man turned out to be 20-year-old Donte Franklin, who was on his way to work as a cook at Buffalo Wild Wings. Michael asked if he’d like a ride, and due to the oppressive heat, Donte gratefully accepted.
“I wasn’t expecting it, but really it was a true blessing he gave me a ride,” Donte said. As Michael drove, he asked Donte what compelled him to walk so far in the punishing midday sun. When he learned that Donte routinely walks over 8 miles one way to work and then repeats the journey at the end of his shift, Michael was impressed and moved by his dedication.
“I’m like, man he’s walking a long way,” Michael said. He dropped Donte off at work, gave him $20 for food, and took to Facebook to write about the encounter.
The response was instantaneous. Michael’s friends began plotting to raise enough money to buy Donte a car. They set up a GoFundMe, and the donations started pouring in!
Kerri Collins was one of the people who saw Michael’s post. She’s the administrator of a biker group called MRBO, or My Riding Buddies Oklahoma and Bikers for Elves. The group performs acts of charity around the state, and Kerri knew right away that Donte needed their help.
“Anytime I see something posted concerning anybody anywhere in Oklahoma, I immediately jump in and we do whatever we can as a group,” she said. “It just touched me that this man is only 20 years old and is walking to two different jobs with nothing in the heat. It opened my heart, because kids his age don’t do that.”
Days later, Kerri and the biker group surprised Donte before his shift with a brand new bicycle! “It’s a blessing,” Donte said. “I really appreciate it. I’m thankful for it.”
Cycling to work is certainly easier and faster than walking, and soon Donte won’t even have to do that. The GoFundMe Michael’s post inspired has brought in over $52,000, more than enough to purchase a new car for him! Donte is currently focusing on getting his driver’s license to make the most of this wonderful gift.
Michael and Donte plan to keep in touch, as Michael said it was “fate” that brought them together. As for Donte, he said, “I can really help my family with this. It’s just a really good blessing.”
Donte said he was inspired to work hard by his mother, who sadly passed away when he was 16. We’re certain she would be incredibly proud of him now! Maybe she was the guardian angel who sent Michael his way that hot June day.
Watch this community come together in the video below, and share this story to remind your friends to always go the extra mile to help others.
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