Butch Marion felt like a new man on Wednesday, the first day of the rest of his life. He had just received a check for $108,000 for being in the right place at the right time. Three weeks ago, Rory McCarty, an avid TikTok user, had met Marion, an 82-year-old cashier, at a Walmart in Cumberland, Maryland. McCarty had gone to the store to buy some batteries, but when he met Marion, he felt that this kind, hardworking man deserved something more. Inspired by a TikTok video he had seen where a woman set up a GoFundMe page to help a Walmart employee retire early, McCarty decided to do the same for Marion.

He made a TikTok video of their meeting and shared it on the platform, where it quickly went viral, getting millions of views. Along with the video, he set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of $100,000, and it took just a few days to meet the goal. The outpouring of support from people across the country was overwhelming, and Marion was moved to tears by the kindness of strangers.

On Wednesday, McCarty met Marion at Walmart, where he presented him with the check for $108,000. “I love you, man,” McCarty told Marion, and Marion replied, “I love you too.” As Marion walked out of Walmart for the last time, he said, “I feel like a bird out of a cage.” Marion, who worked about 30 hours a week at Walmart, had retired years ago to help take care of his ex-wife’s husband before he passed. He later returned back to work at Walmart.

Marion plans to use the money to pay off bills, and to have more flexibility to enjoy life, such as taking a three-week trip to Florida to see daughters and grandchildren he hasn’t hugged in years. He says he is looking forward to being able to relax more and spend more time with his family.

Marion and McCarty have also developed a friendship. They have spent time riding ATVs and getting meals together, and McCarty says it will continue. He said he never dreamed something like this could happen and that he is so excited for Marion. This incident has shown how a small act of kindness can have a ripple effect and change someone’s life for the better.