Upstate effort to help homeless man goes viral

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate man’s act of kindness has sparked a reaction beyond his wildest expectations.

Paul Eberhart’s simple Facebook plea Sunday morning went viral quickly and has inspired others to pitch in half a world away.

It started Sunday in Spartanburg when the chance interaction between these two strangers kick started an idea to help save a man named Willie and his dog Roscoe.

Eberhart said he and Willie were perfect strangers Roscoe caught his eye at the QuikTrip on Reidville Road in Spartanburg.

“He comes walking by and the dog is just sitting up and grabbed my attention, Eberhart said. “I just sat back and watched him.”

Eberhart said his gut told him Willie and Roscoe may be homeless.

He wanted to help but it’s what he witnessed next that touched his heart and led him to do more for Willie than he’s ever done for someone in need before.

“He took care of his dog,” said Eberhart. “He went to get snacks then gave them to Roscoe. It was never about Willie. That was the amazing thing about this.”

Willie’s selfless devotion to Roscoe led Paul to approach Willie and strike up a conversation.

“I just walked up and said ‘is there anything i can do for you?,'” said Eberhart.

His intuition was right.

Willie told him he had been living on the streets for weeks after his car broke down and he lost his job.

Eberhart said Willie needed help and he had an idea to post a plea for help to his Facebook friends.

“It was just a simple post I wrote in about 30 minutes,” he said.

The post asking for help in getting Willie’s car fixed, finding him a job, and a place to stay yieded an outpouring of love Eberhart said he never saw coming.

The post was shared 5,000 times and the help rolled in from the Upstate and all the way to Australia.

“He has a job. He’s in a hotel right now. and we are working dilligently to find him a home so if anybody has any rental properties in the Gaffney area we would love to hear from you,” said Eberhart.

Someone even donated a car to Willie and a Facebook fundraising page called “Help Willie and Roscoe Get Off the Streets” has brought in more than $11,000 dollars in under 72 hours and it’s growing.

“This is about one human being and another that just interacted. I’ve had so many people calling and messaging me saying they’ve had that interaction but they didn’t quite make the move. That’s pretty cool that we were able to do something to help this guy. Simple as that,” Eberhart said.

A local veterinarian offered to check out Roscoe free of charge.

Willie is working for a property management company doing landscaping.

Eberhart said Willie’s overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and wasn’t quite ready to interview with local television stations.

If you would like to help out and follow Willie and Roscoe’s journey, click here.

Eberhart told 7News that he’s working with an accountant and an attorney. Both of them will handle the donations and how they will be dispersed to Willie once the donation drive is over later in July.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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