A student at the University of Central Lancashire in England has raised more than $20,000 to help a homeless man get back on his feet after he generously offered his last piece of change to her for a taxi ride home.
Dominique Harrison-Bentzen, 22, had lost her bank card after a night out on the town on Dec. 4. A homeless man by the name of Robbie came to her rescue.
“I suddenly realized that I had no money, and a homeless man approached me with his only change of £3 ($4.72),” she told Mirror Online. “He insisted I took it to pay for a taxi to make sure I got home safe.”
Bentzen posted about the incident on Facebook and quickly learned that Robbie was known for helping citizens in the Preston city centre area, whether it was returning lost wallets to their rightful owners or offering his scarf to keep people warm.
Bentzen said she did not take Robbie’s money that night but was so touched by the homeless man’s kindness that she decided to start a fundraiser.
“I simply can’t just give him the money; I have to go through the right channels, so I will be spending 24 hours through the day and night as a homeless person to understand the difficulties they face each day,” Bentzen said. “If people can sponsor me £3 ($4.72) - as Robbie attempted to give me his only £3 ($4.72) - in hope of collecting enough to get Robbie a flat (apartment) deposit so that he can be safe and warm.”
Bentzen was able to find Robbie a few days later. She immediately took to Facebook to make fundraising posts, and the money started rolling in.
Since the fundraiser started, the Miss Preston finalist has raised a total of $20,416. Bentzen’s cause even got the attention of Stone Roses lead singer Ian Brown who tweeted about the event.
“Everyone has been so supportive, and I’d love to get as many people as possible out with me on Tuesday to show Robbie our support - be it for the full 24 hours or just one,” Bentzen said.
Bentzen hopes that her campaign will encourage others to be compassionate towards the homeless this holiday season. “Christmas is a good time to think about other people,” she added. “If people can see what I am doing then maybe they can take the time to just stop and talk to a homeless person, hear their story.”
You can help Robbie by donating here.