'Just unreal': Navy vet and Walmart cashier, 82, in tears as netizens raise $115K so he can retire

'Just unreal': Navy vet and Walmart cashier, 82, in tears as netizens raise $115K so he can retire
Donations poured in for Butch Marion, an 82-year-old navy veteran who worked at a Walmart to sustain himself, thanks to TikTok and social media (Screenshot from FOX 5 Washington DC/YouTube)

CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND: TikTok is not exactly known for good things, but a recent heartwarming gesture for an army veteran shows that the platform can be a force for good as well. Butch Marion, 82, a navy veteran, had been working as a cashier at a Walmart to make ends meet when he was given a second chance at life. He officially worked his last shift and retired comfortably thanks to the generosity of strangers on the app.

Online donors came together after Rory McCarty started a fundraiser on GoFundMe to help the old man live out his twilight years in peace. Many donors donated more than $115,000 for the elderly man. The fundraiser began in December 2022 and the money that came from it has got Marion "feeling like a new man."

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Daily Mail reported that Marion’s story came to light when McCarty, who was a customer at the Walmart, started a fundraiser and posted about the Cumberland man on TikTok. McCarty said he was inspired by Elizabeth Rizzo of Arizona raising money for another Walmart worker named Carmen Kelly and had told Marion that he could do the same for him. "Now imagine that someone raised that kind of money for you!" McCarty had said in his TikTok video.

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Rory McCarty and Butch Marion embrace on his last day at work. (Photo: FOX 5 Washington DC)
Rory McCarty and Butch Marion embrace on his last day at work (Screenshot from FOX 5 Washington DC/YouTube)

While TikTokers and other well wishers came together in droves and donated to help the elderly veteran retire, to Marion it all seemed too good to be true. McCarty had posted another video after the money had started to come in, where Marion was seen asking, “This is real?” and “How did I get so lucky?”

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Naval officers had shown up to give navy veteran Marion the farewell he deserves on the day of his retirement. (Photo: FOX 5 Washington DC/YouTube)
Naval officers showed to give navy veteran Butch Marion the farewell he deserves on the day he retired (Screenshot from FOX 5 Washington DC/YouTube)

Marion said in the video that he had been working since he was 11. When he was asked what he would do with the money, he had said that he would love to go visit his children, do some work around his home and just enjoy life. The fundraiser raised upwards of $100,000 in just two days and had raised upto $115,000 in total. On Wednesday, January 4, McCarty and Marion hugged each other as the former handed over the cheque to the navy veteran. Marion said that it was a "Christmas miracle" and it was "just unreal."

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Marion’s life was completely changed by McCarty’s act of kindness, despite the fact that they were strangers only a month ago. Now they are both tight friends and had also met Rizzo for lunch. "Butch wanted me to thank everyone of you out there that contributed to this miracle that you gave him," McCarty wrote in the caption of a video showing pictures from Marion’s last day at work. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart," he said.

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