Strangers Helping Strangers
How GoFundMe Supports the Generosity of Organizers and Donors
He was a complete stranger. But when Karin heard Aaron’s story, she knew she wanted to help.
Aaron Tucker was taking the bus to a job interview that morning. Recently released after a 22-month prison sentence, Aaron was working to turn his life around. He had $1.75 in his pocket and wore a dress shirt given to him by the halfway house where he was staying.
But when Aaron’s bus passed a horrific car crash, he put all of that aside. Knowing the bus wouldn’t wait for him, he rushed toward the smoking, overturned vehicle and started rescuing the person trapped inside.
As three workers from a nearby auto shop helped extinguish the flames, Aaron took off the dress shirt that was supposed to help him start his new life and used it to help save someone else’s.
Aaron took off the dress shirt that was supposed to help him start his new life and used it to help save someone else’s
Explaining why she started a GoFundMe for Aaron, Karin said, “I decided he deserved a random act of kindness from a stranger as he had so selflessly given one to someone in need.”
Some of the most moving campaigns on GoFundMe involve strangers helping strangers, like Karin and Aaron. These campaigns — like those for Mohamed, a foster father who cares for terminally ill children, and Fidencio, an 89-year-old popsicle vendor — can end up touching the hearts of thousands and changing the lives of the organizer and the beneficiary.
But when an incredible story can inspire so many people to donate their hard-earned money, there are some understandable questions. How can you be sure the story is truthful? How will that money get to the right person? What if someone tries to take advantage of people’s generosity?
Honoring the intention of our donors is something GoFundMe takes very seriously. It’s why we have the industry’s first and only guarantee. And we protect our donors, as well as our organizers and beneficiaries, with advanced technical tools and a dedicated team of Trust & Safety specialists.
Honoring the intention of our donors is something GoFundMe takes very seriously. It’s why we have the industry’s first and only guarantee.
In Aaron’s case, these specialists were working behind the scenes to make sure Karin’s campaign funds got directly to him. However, soon after the campaign took off, Aaron became concerned. Not knowing that GoFundMe ensures that funds get to the right person, he worried that he might be taken advantage of.
One of our Trust & Safety specialists, Olivia, made quick contact with Aaron at the halfway house to reassure him in this moment of vulnerability. She let him know that the account was safe and that GoFundMe was monitoring his campaign and protecting the donations. In the meantime, Karin helped Aaron set up a checking account so he could securely receive the funds.
Like Karin, Wesley saw a news story and knew he wanted to help.
Back in April, Wesley started a GoFundMe for the family of Robert Godwin, Sr., a Cleveland man who was senselessly murdered during a Facebook livestream. As Wesley wrote in his campaign, “I am just a kid from Arizona who unfortunately saw this video on Facebook and wanted to help.”
As this shocking news event swept across the internet, donations poured in to Wesley’s campaign. In the background, GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety team worked with law enforcement, Wesley, and the Godwin family to ensure transparency and the safe delivery of the funds.
In the end, Wesley helped raise more than $93,000 to help this family after an unspeakable tragedy.
So far, more than 1,500 people from across the country have donated over $61,000 to Karin’s campaign for Aaron.
Karin says, “The opportunities that have come to Aaron as a result of this campaign will not only shift the trajectory his life, but that of his son. As for me, I have made a friend for life that I never would have met if it weren’t for the campaign I started for him. Really, it is a beautiful thing when you see 1,500 strangers step up and give another person a hand up.”
“Really, it is a beautiful thing when you see 1,500 strangers step up and give another person a hand up”
It’s this generosity — both of those donors and of organizers like Karin — that our team works so diligently to protect. And it’s why we’re proud to say that GoFundMe is the safest place to give.
Special thanks to Aaron, Karin, Wesley, and the Godwin family.
Feeling inspired? Start your own GoFundMe here.