1. This is Jenny Baker, who got talking to Michael on Saturday during a night out in Dalston, East London.
2. The pair got talking and Jenny promised she’d help him find a way back to Jamaica. Yesterday she posted this message on Gofundme.com:
3. The result? In just 24 hours, she’s raised £3,700 – enough to send him to Jamaica and to set him up with a new life there.
So far 441 people have contributed in 22 hours. The total is still going up, currently at the rate of about £100 an hour.
The only trouble is Michael doesn’t have a phone and Jenny has no way of getting in touch, so she’s going to have to track him down in Dalston again.
4. Update 1:40 pm: The total has now passed £4,000.
6. People have been contributing to the fund from around the world – the appeal went viral very quickly.
7. Jenny is a studio assistant at advertising giants Ogilvy & Mather, people who know a thing or two about successful campaigns.
But this appears to be an example of someone acting out of simple altruism.
8. Update 4.30pm: We contacted Jenny to find out more – mainly to establish that all this really happened.
She says via email: “I can say hand on heart say that everything I put on the fundraising page is what happened. I feel sick, nervous, excited, scared, happy and genuinely overwhelmed by the response.
“When he told me his story he was very calm and just came across as a gentle soul. You come across homeless people everyday in London, but this man is special. He wanted nothing from me. When he told me his story and I said I wanted to help he started crying…. I know you have to ask but no, I have no doubt that this man is genuine. It touched me that he seemed to trust me so quickly, how could i walk away from that.
“Never in a million years did i think this would reach as many people as it has. But I have massive faith in humanity and the kindness of the human heart and this has just reaffirmed it for me really. Such a huge amount already…. It was probably very naive of me to want to just raise enough for a flight.. I feel like I need to make sure he is set up when he gets home too which is why it is just so wonderful to have such a large amount raised. This is only the beginning of what could be a tricky journey but I hope, with the help of others, we can make Michael’s dream come true.”
She’s now trying to find Michael so she can break it to him that his fortunes have just taken a turn for the better.
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