HACKETTSTOWN – This could be the plot of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
A TikTok video of an 81-year-old woman looking crestfallen in a Walmart break room that went viral led to a GoFundMe page that helped her pay her mortgage to retire.
In a series of videos on his TikTok page, 18-year-old Devan Bonagura shows how the video he took of Nola Carpenter in the Hackettstown Walmart break room without her knowing it with the caption “Life shouldn’t be so hard” accompanied by melancholy music that has gone viral.
The video has received 27 million views, 4 million likes and questions about people could help. Bonagura created a GoFundMe page to help her retire.
How can we help?
Bonagura posted a second video of him approaching Carpenter in the parking lot with the news and asking if she would accept the money. He also found out why she continues to work.
“I would accept it but I would still have to work until I got the remaining $70,000 or $60,000 to pay for the house,” Carpenter told Bonagura. “That’s what keeps me from working, that’s home.”
Carpenter said she worked at Walmart for 20 years, mostly to pay her mortgage. His daughter Kathy Carpentier told NJ.com that her father was in a car accident several years ago and couldn’t work.
The video ends with Kathy Carpenter transferring administrative rights to the page to her mother.
As of early Monday afternoon, the fund had more than $183,000 in donations.
Bonagura, who works for another company selling phones at Walmart, said in another video that a Walmart official asked him to take down the video and page because of threats the store received. The director also threatened to involve the police.
“I told them ‘do what you have to do because I’m giving this woman the money somehow,'” Bonagura said in another video. His own company put him on suspension with pay.
The story has a happy ending as Carpenter said in the latest video posted on Sunday that she will be retiring in January.
“I’m going to retire on the first of the year. I’ll help them with the holidays and then it’ll be nice to stay home,” Carpenter said. “I will miss my clients because they are looking for me every day.”
On Monday morning, Walmart did not respond to New Jersey 101.5’s request for comment.
@dbon973_ :/ I feel bad. #fyp #blowthisup #sad #walmart ♬ Jocelyn Flores – XXXTENTACION
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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