PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of Oregonians waited in long lines at credit unions across Oregon Thursday to apply for $500 emergency relief checks, but people at one location left with more than they expected.
Kathryn Davidson said she was waiting along with hundreds of other people Thursday morning when a man driving a Jaguar pulled up. She said he seemed irritated at first that people were blocking the ATM, but then those gathered explained they were waiting for emergency funding.
Davidson said the man reacted by asking, “Really? You guys need help?” When she answered yes, he did something that she says restored her faith in humanity.
“All of a sudden he breaks open a stack of $100 bills,” she explained. “And he said distribute this down the line. He just said, ‘Here, take it’ and he didn’t ask for any thanks. He just drove off.”
Davidson, who formerly worked with armored transit services, said she thinks the man handed over $10,000.
“He actually broke the band off of it, so that means it was $10,000. At least $3,000 — maybe the whole $10,000 — was just distributed to everyone in line,” she said.
The man didn’t identify himself before driving away.
“All of us in line, we wanted to say thank you so much, whoever you are. You’re a saint,” Davidson said. “There were Black people, white people, men, women, Catholics and people with a Jewish star necklace — handed out to all of us, didn’t matter who we were — women in burkas and every manner and walk of life are here, and he helped all of us.”
The emergency funding program, announced Wednesday, is aimed at helping 70,000 Oregonians who have been hurt economically by the pandemic. By mid-afternoon Thursday, 33,000 people had been paid. The state said the money is expected to last until at least next week.