When Jose Villarruel of Fontana, California, opens the door of his 1997 Ford Thunderbird, he's very careful. He relies on the car's power to keep his laptop charged. He is a substitute teacher and tutor, and has been living in his car since 2013. He explains, "I couldn't possibly support my family and extended family in Mexico and rent an apartment here with the income I have."
One of his former students, Steven Nava, would drive to work about 5 a.m. and see Villarruel going through his trunk, and he felt he needed to do something about it, so he created a fundraising account and shared it on social media. This month, on Villarruel's 77th birthday, Nava presented the man affectionately known as Mr. V with a check for $27,000 and a serenade from a number of his former students. Nava said it was an honor for him to help the man who has helped mold so many students.