The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but for some, it has been a life-changing event. That is true of a 77-year-old California substitute teacher who lost his job due to the pandemic.
Things got so difficult for Jose Villarruel (Mr. V) that he’s been living in his 1990s Ford Thunderbird for almost a year.
Most people don’t think about what the pandemic did to substitute teachers. Very few of them were able to keep their position because remote learning did not typically require them to do any work.
When this happened, Villarruel recognized that the situation had changed and his job had become obsolete, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles.
Villarruel went on to say that he had made arrangements to get his pension and did all of the paperwork, but the check didn’t last long due to some outstanding debts. That is when Stephen Nava entered the scene. He ran into him recently, and as a former student, he recognized him and knew he needed to help.
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!
He went on Twitter to let everyone know that the former substitute teacher was living near his house in an automobile. Not only that, but the car was really old and Nava knew that he needed to help. He said, “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…”
Nava was the first one to extend a helping hand, giving Villarruel $300 so he could get into a hotel room. He also took the former teacher out to breakfast and found out that his birthday was coming up quickly.
Nava was working on a GoFundMe fundraiser, and Villarruel had no idea what was coming.
It only took a few days to raise $27,000 and it was presented to Villarruel at a socially distanced birthday party. Members of the community and former students came to wish him well.
When they presented him with his check, he thought he was dreaming. He even said he couldn’t get over the experience.
Villarruel then promised that he would pay things forward and fulfill what he felt was an obligation to do more for the world.
Due to popular requests, another GoFundMe was started to help Mr. V even further. It’s raised over $20,000 and counting.Whizzco