A TikToker raised $186,000 so that an 81-year-old Walmart employee could pay off her mortgage and finally retire after 20 years of working there.
This month, 19-year-old Devan Bonagura from New Jersey went viral when he shared a video of Nola Carpenter sitting in the break room at the Walmart in Hackettstown during her shift.
He wrote in the on-screen text, “Life shouldn’t be this hard.”
Since it was posted on November 2, the heartbreaking video has been seen more than 30 million times. Bonagura set up a GoFundMe to help raise money for Carpenter’s retirement after the number of comments was so high.
Bonagura later said that when he filmed Carpenter in the break room, he was working for a third-party vendor that sold phones inside Walmart.
In a second video, he said that a store manager told him to take down both the viral video and the fundraiser he started for her because the chain was allegedly getting threats.
He said, “They’re getting a lot of backlash, so they told me I had to delete the video and the GoFundMe and give all the money back to the people who donated it or they’d call the police.”
So, I told them to do whatever they needed to do because I was going to get this money to this woman one way or another.
This young man raised almost $190,000 so that the old Walmart worker could retire and not go hungry. Well done guy!
Bonagura said that his boss put him on paid suspension, but it was worth it because he was able to raise more than $100,000 for Carpenter in just 24 hours.
When he surprised her with the money a few days later, the GoFundMe had raised more than $110,000. Carpenter thanked the donors and said that the money would help her mortgage go “way down.”
But it wasn’t enough for her to give up work.
She told Bonagura, “I’d take it, but I’d still have to work until the other $60,000 on the house is paid off.”
The average hourly wage at Walmart is about $17, so she would have to work for several years to pay off her mortgage in full.
When the GoFundMe reached $181,000, which was more than Carpenter needed to retire, Bonagura filmed another update with her. At the time this was written, 13,500 people had given a total of $186,653.
She said, “I feel good, and I’m glad Devan did what he did because without that, none of this would have been possible.” “That’s why I worked at Walmart, so I could pay off my house.”
Carpenter said she will keep working for Walmart through the busy holiday season and then retire in the beginning of 2023.
She said, “I’m going to stop working for good on January 1.” “I’ll help them out over the holidays,” I said.
She said that she will miss seeing her regular customers at the store where she has worked for the past 20 years.
“Every day they look for me,” she said.