46-year-old Mike was helped by 24-year-old vlogger Philip Vu in New Haven, Connecticut, who is currently living out of his own car.
A homeless man was left in tears after he learned that strangers had raised $17,000 to help put a roof over his head. 46-year-old Mike, who has been homeless for most of his life, met 24-year-old vlogger Philip Vu in New Haven, Connecticut, when he offered to clean his car windows. After declining the offer initially, Phillip decided to invite Mike in to his car to have a little chat and soon the two struck an unlikely friendship. The young man, who had recorded their conversation, decided to upload their heartwarming exchange with his friend on social media. What Phillip didn't know was the huge impact his video would have on people, who immediately fell in love with the homeless man's straight-forward attitude. The next thing Phillip knew, strangers were asking if they could donate money to help the man out.
In mere days, kind and generous strangers managed to raise thousands of dollars. When Philip went to see Mike during their planned mealtime meet-up on Chinese New Year, the young man handed him $1000 in a red envelope (which was the most he was able to withdraw.) He then told mike about this online fundraiser which raised a total of $14,000 (at the time) and while breaking the news, Phillip didn't forget to turn on the camera once again. "That was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life," said Newport Beach, California-resident, who is living in his car currently.
"When I set off on this journey eight months ago when I left home to live out my car and make videos, years in the future my dream was to give a person who deserves it a lump sum of money and change their life. I never could've imagined only eight months later I would have achieved that," he said according to Daily Mail. "We can fix homeless in the US because a life was changed with just $17,000 - we can make a difference in these peoples lives." Phillip reportedly quit his job at a bank and embarked on a road trip to travel around the country. On January 31 he was parked in New Haven when Mike approached him.
That day the temperature was as low as 7°F and even though Mike turned him down initially, Phillip bought him a sandwich after seeing the poor man wait alone for 30 minutes. He offered Mike to sit inside his car and eat together before asking him whether it was okay to film their conversation for one of his "Daily Vlogs." After speaking to him for some time, the 24-year-old realized that he was not that different from Mike. "I thought we were two sides from a different coin," he revealed. "We both came from struggling backgrounds and at some point, I decided to reconnect with my family and he didn't - we saw commonalities until that split. I was like living my dreams, and he told me his dream was to go traveling one day. He's been fending for his life and trying to support his girlfriend and I'm living out of my car for leisure."
Mike, who lost his father when he was young, said that he had been to jail many times. However, he had a change of heart after his mother passed away last year. Thus, he began offering to clean windows and pump petrol to "make money honestly." Meanwhile, Phillip, too, lost his dad when he was young. "We have both experienced loss and we just bonded on that. I was talking about family, where we're from, and how we both ended up in that situation," he said. The former bank analyst shared the heartwarming exchange on his TikTok and YouTube account and suddenly it went viral. "I never thought any of these videos would get that much traction. I didn't think it would be more than me helping him out, having a conversation, getting to know him. I just wanted to document a video of me and Mike hanging out and sharing an experience," he shared. Mike has applied for low-incoming housing and is currently getting his birth certificate and social security number.