Teacher, 77, Who Lived In A Car Received A Generous Check From His Former Students

When a substitute teacher faced hard times, he was forced to live in his car. Thankfully, some of his former students stepped up to the plate and gave him an unexpected birthday gift this year. 

Jose Villarruel, known by his students as Mr. V, was forced to live in his blue Thunderbird for eight years. He did this so he could send all of his money to his family living in Mexico. The kindhearted man was affected negatively by the pandemic.

As schools moved to online learning, the Fontana, California substitute teacher was out of work. He decided to put in his resignation so that he could receive a pension. Sadly, it was not enough.

A man hugs his former student who helped raise money for him after seeing that he lived in his car | Photo: Youtube/FOX 11 Los Angeles

Villarruel explained: “I got my check, but that check didn’t last long because I had debts already.” He faced challenging times, but then his life took a turn for the better. Steven Nava did not forget Villarruel’s warm nature and care for his class.

As he was on his way to work, Nava recognized Villarruel and was saddened by what he saw. The 21-year-old said: “It’s sad to see one of your own teachers go through that.” He handed the teacher all of the money he had with him.


It was about $300, and Villarruel was extremely grateful and even hugged his former student. He also had a big smile on his face and thanked Nava through teary eyes. For Nava, the $300 was not enough for his “favorite teacher.” 

Nava vowed that he would try to find a way to help his teacher. The first step was setting up a GoFundMe page. Within hours, it had brought in $5,000 for Villarruel. The student also took to TikTok to ask for assistance. 

Elderly man who lives in his car thanks everyone who donated money and helped him celebrate his birthday | Photo: Youtube/FOX 11 Los Angeles

The clip gained lots of reactions as people offered to help. The overwhelming support allowed Nava to organize something special for Villarruel. A celebration party was put on for the teacher.

Many of his former students attended the event, which took place on Villarruel’s 77th birthday. It was an unforgettable day for Villarruel, who reacted to the surprise by asking: “Am I dreaming?” 

A former teacher who lives in his car is given a check on his birthday | Photo: Youtube/FOX 11 Los Angeles

Students were overjoyed to see their former teacher receiving the attention and love he always gave them. One student said

“Everybody always recognizes him, ’cause when he would go into the classroom, he always had just such good energy.”

Presents, balloons, and support were not the only gifts he got on his special day. He was also handed a check for $27,000! Villarruel expressed his thankfulness and stated that he would find a way to spread good in the world.  

Leave a Comment