Thousands of viewers were moved by the story and urged Devan to set up a GoFundMe page for her so that they could all contribute.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 22, 2022. It has since been updated.
Seeing a senior working at a Walmart so late into their years has to be a difficult sight to see, and will probably move our hearts. But very few people will actually step up to do something about it. A good samaritan on TikTok decided that he wanted to do something about it. Devan Bonagura, also known as @dbon973_ on TikTok, uploaded a 15-second clip of Nola, an older woman sitting in the break room wearing a Walmart work uniform and name badge, staring down at her lap. The brief video had a text description that read, "Life shouldn't be this difficult...." Devan added, "I feel horrible." Over 29.1 million people watched the video, and it received 4.3 million likes.
Thousands of viewers were moved by the story and urged Devan to set up a GoFundMe page for her so that they could all contribute. He obliged, creating a fundraiser with a goal of $10,000 for Nola, titling it “Let’s help Nola retire.” “Nola works at Walmart and that says enough. Let’s all come together and help,” stated the description.
After the effort got going, several people thought the initiative was a ruse. They hoped that all of the money would go to Nola and that Devan would not exploit her narrative for personal gain. Devan repeatedly told them that Nola would receive all of the donations. In a subsequent video, he declared, “She is going to get every single dollar that was donated.” The road to Nola's retirement wasn't without its challenges, however. In the video, he shared that Walmart had been in touch with him regarding the popular TikTok and requested that he stop what he was doing, take down the GoFundMe page, and give the donors their money back.
In fact, the company threatened police action against the young man. “So, I told them: ‘Do what you gotta do, because I’m getting this money to this woman one way or another,’” Devan said, not giving up on the initiative to change someone’s life for the better. Additionally, it seems that many people wanted to donate since the GoFundMe campaign raised over $100,000 in just 24 hours, staggeringly exceeding the initial goal.
After talking to Nola's daughter on the phone and making arrangements to meet her, on November 5, Devon went down to meet the mother-daughter duo and help them out with their debts. “They saw that you’re a very hard worker, obviously,” he told Nola, sharing the story about the video with her. “We are all super proud of you, and we wanted to offer you the $110,000 that has been raised for you.” Unfortunately, Nola shared that she works this job because she has a lot of debt with her house too, seeming nonplussed at this news. “I’d accept it, but I’d still have to work until I get the other $60,000 paid off the house,” she told Devan, adding, “That’s what’s holding me at work—the house,” she explained.
The surprise reveal was that he has more than enough money raised through the GoFundMe website to pay off her mortgage and enjoy her golden years. One of Nola's kin was seen transferring the funds to Nola's name later in the video. A picture of Devan and the woman marked the conclusion of the video.
Although sadly Devon has been fired without pay, he expects to make more people happy through random acts of kindness at present. The gesture has gotten praise for Devon and amusement at Nola's reaction. “Nola’s like: ‘That’s cool and all, what about the other $70,000?’” TikTok user @chaydog321 joked, while another user @therealvanity6 said, “As a Walmart employee and seeing people like her struggle for retirement this warms my heart bless your soul.” The video even prompted a response from the official GoFundMe TikTok account, which said, “This is exactly why we exist. Thank you for helping her!”