Former Student Raises $27,000 For Substitute Teacher Living In His Car

Since most schools in the nation went virtual during the pandemic, many educators found themselves inexplicably experiencing a sudden career shift. For some substitute teachers, it also meant significantly less hours and a severe pay cut.

For one already struggling substitute teacher, the pandemic proved to be the force that turned his world completely upside down, until one former student stepped in to save the day.

Before the pandemic, things were already difficult for this Southern Californian substitute teacher.

Abdiel Ibarra l Unsplash

As People reported, Jose Villarruel was struggling long before the pandemic caused his hours to be cut. His extended family in Mexico needed financial support while his immediate family in Southern California needed monetary aid as well.

Villarruel had to make a difficult choice. He decided that since it was too expensive to support his family and rent an apartment, he would live out of his car.

However, the onset of pandemic made his situation even more difficult.

One day, a former student noticed Villarruel's predicament.

Taylor Simpson l Unsplash

While on his way to work in the morning, his former student, Steven Nava, saw the substitute was living in his 1997 Ford Thunderbird LX, and knew he had to do something to help.

So, he started a GoFundMe campaign to support Villarruel. Nava had warm memories of his Fontana Unified School District sub being funny and helpful. It was his chance to say "thank you."

The campaign raised over $27,000.

In only six days, the GoFundMe page raised more than $27,000 for the substitute, and a heartfelt check was delivered to Villarruel last week on his 77th birthday.

After presenting his former teacher with the money, Nava shared a hug Villarruel, a touching moment that has captured everyone's hearts.

This story reminds us to believe in the power of human kindness.

What strikes people the most about this story is that Nava could have just walked by his former sub without doing anything to help. But instead, he decided to offer Villarruel kindness, and thus has inspired others to do the same.

A second GoFundMe campaign has now been established to continue to help the substitute teacher in his time of need. As of writing, it has raised more than $15,000 of its $25,000 goal.

Let us know what you think of this story and if you felt moved by this substitute teacher's story.

h/t: People