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'I'm totally shocked!' Homeless veteran gets NEW CAR from millionaire who's 'taking out the middle man' and donating to people instead of charities - and wants billionaire Kylie Jenner to join him in 'Twitter philanthropy'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 8/15/2019 David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor For In New Orleans, La.

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A homeless U.S. Army veteran witnessed a miracle on Monday: a millionaire traveling 1,000 miles to hand him the keys to a new car. 

For Michigan businessman Bill Pulte, it was just another day at the office. 

'I'm trying to inspire the average American,' he told DailyMailTV in New Orleans, explaining why he flew in from Detroit to make sure Horace Scott has a reliable set of wheels to get to his two jobs.

Scott, 59, served in the U.S. Army from 1979 to 1982 and is struggling to save enough money to move into his own apartment. Gretchen Smith, an Air Force veteran who founded a nonprofit called Code of Vets, found him in a transitional housing shelter and put him on Pulte's radar.

Standing in a Post Office parking lot across the street from a car dealership – brought there by a retired colonel on a pretext, surprise-party-style – the unexpected generosity left Scott speechless.

'Get outta here! Oh, man. What? Oh, man, I'm ecstatic!' he said. 'I don't have words right now. This is heaven-sent.'

Pulte says he's trying to change the way people think about charity, moving its center of gravity away from lumbering-dinosaur institutions and directly into people's laptops and smartphones – all at the speed of Twitter. 

His philanthropic resume is growing fast. The 31-year-old has expanded his Twitter audience from a handful to nearly a half-million in the past two months by giving away money in amounts ranging from $5 to $10,000 – sometimes completely at random, but mostly determined by the wisdom of the crowd. 

Pulte has bought needy Americans groceries and air conditioners, paid for veterans' dentures and heating bills, covered funeral costs and funded the rehabilitation and education of an African orphan through the Family Legacy project. 

And he has convinced hundreds of people to look at the classroom supply wish-lists of a growing number of teachers, and buy everything on them.

'Anyone wanna help this teacher with school supplies? Here's her Amazon wish list,' Pulte tweeted last Friday along with a heart emoji, pointing to a list of items a North Carolina kindergarten teacher hoped her friends and family would fund.

Nine minutes later everything was paid for.

Rachael Galati, a first-grade teacher in southwestern Ohio, tweeted a photo of more than 20 boxes on her front porch – stacked taller than she is – and called the surprise 'better than Christmas.'

'I didn't think that that was even possible,' Galati said in a video message. 'My heart is so full. I honestly want to cry right now and I can't stop grinning.'

Pulte says he will soon give away a Tesla electric car and a Bitcoin worth more than $11,000.

So far he has committed more than $100,000 from his own pockets to retail-level acts of charity that defy the traditional model of centralized organizations collecting and distributing cash.

'I am taking out the middle man and giving the money directly to the people. No more fancy dinners and all that overhead. Give the money right to the cause!' he tweeted in July.

His sales pitches keep coming.

'Imagine a service where you could find people most in need, and help them directly. Now make it free,' he wrote last week.

'Now realize that's what Twitter can be. Manage your feed appropriately and you have a more powerful resource to help people than many of our nation's charities.'

'Decentralize philanthropy,' he urged on Monday, just a few hours before he handed Scott his keys.

Pulte predicted that when his Twitter audience – he calls them 'teammates' – hits the 1 million mark, he will have sunk $1 million into his crusade.

Scott's car, and another like it that went to a Michigan veteran last week, were the results of Donald Trump's Twitter addiction. The president saw Pulte's pledge to donate the vehicles if the he retweeted him, and he did barely two hours later.

'Thank you Bill, say hello to our GREAT VETERANS!' Trump wrote.

Pulte is carefully nonpartisan, but he wasn't surprised.

'He tends to think outside of the box,' he said of Trump. 'Bringing philanthropy online is an outside of the box idea. With one tweet he punched a hole in the reality of philanthropy.'

Sitting in his new car, Scott said he had a message for the president: 'Commanding officer, I want to thank you, sir, for honoring all vets. We really appreciate you.'

Pulte said Monday that other wealthy people, including some billionaires, will soon put their own money on the table to change the way Americans think about giving.

He also hopes to persuade Kylie Jenner, the 22-year-old who leaped from reality TV star to billionaire businesswoman, to introduce the Twitter philanthropy concept to the masses.

'If we can get somebody of that generation – we really have Americans' attention now, and we just need to push it a little bit further,' he said.

Asked to deliver an 'elevator pitch' to Jenner, he stared down the barrel of a DailyMailTV camera and made his case.

'Kylie, you have a huge platform,' he said. 'You can inspire, with the click of a button, people to be able to give millions of dollars away all across the world. Please join Twitter philanthropy and help us spread love, kindness and generosity. It's a movement. We'd love to have you.'

His famous allies already include boxer Manny Pacquiao and 'Dilbert' cartoonist Scott Adams, who relays to his own audience nearly every development in the Pulte saga.

But whether or not Hollywood jumps on his moving train, he said his larger mission is to nudge 'average Americans who just want to help out others.'

'I'd like to give away millions and millions of dollars, but I'm just one person,' he explained. 'So I'm like a drop in the bucket. But if I could inspire hundreds of thousands of people to give, that's when it becomes really interesting.'

More than 600 people, all of them new converts to Pulte's cause, chipped in small amounts of money to help pay for Horace Scott's car.

'Everybody can be a philanthropist with social media. … Everybody can give,' he said. 'It's not reserved for the elites, for the wealthy class. Average people can give to other people now with technology.'

Pulte encourages his followers to retweet his near-daily pledges to fund needy Americans, and to publicly post their own usernames from Square, Inc.'s Cash App.

Then the fun starts. He makes student loan payments, helps teachers pay for their licensing credentials, covers veterans' utility bills and walks the streets giving $100 at a time to homeless people.

And people on Twitter follow his lead – including some who replicate his giving and tell their own followers, and some who would rather pass his money on than keep it.

'When I give one hundred people $100, it's amazing how many people want to give it to other people,' Pulte said.

Scott Adams, a quiet intellectual who made his fortune drawing a comic strip about the frustrations of office-cubicle life, said in a phone interview that he's fascinated by the potential of social media alms-giving on a micro scale.

'Nobody knows' whether Pulte is changing the world or buying expensive entertainment, he said, 'but it doesn't matter because if you try a lot of good stuff, some of it will work. Some of it will stick.'

And he said what gives this summer's online generosity experiment its sticking-power is the personal connections it enables among people who have lost the human touch behind flat screens and keyboards.

'We have this big old, cold world where we talk to people on the Internet, and we're all insulting each other and calling everybody a racist, and you get so disconnected with your technology,' Adams said. 'You're just so disconnected from people.'

'And then Bill comes along, and he says, "I'm going to connect you to a person, and you're going to watch them cry when we help them." He's taking it down to the tear level.'

'You can tell from the comments on Twitter that people are touched,' he said. 'You can tell that some part of what humans really require to have meaning in their life is being stimulated by this.'

Pulte's brand of raw, unfiltered kindness is 'connecting people to the recipient, which is important,' Adams added. 'And it's just sort of waking people up. If you can help, you know, why not? Usually it doesn't take much more than just a few dollars.'

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