Vaughan community raises $27k for Tim Hortons employee who works nearly every day
When Matthew Shulman started a GoFundMe to raise money for his favourite Tim Hortons employee who's at the drive-thru window nearly every day each week, Vishnu Sothilingan, he wasn't all that surprised to see that many others shared the love.
Shulman says he got to know Sothilingan "one coffee cup at a time" and has known him for about five years since he started coming to the Tim Hortons drive-thru at Bathurst Street and Rutherford Road in Vaughan.
The fundraiser has now well surpassed its $10k goal with over $27k in donations from over 600 people. Shulman says a customer donated $5,000 just this week.
"This was a chance to give back to someone who gives us a lot more than a cup of coffee. He gives us hope, he tells us jokes, he knows our families, he's just an awesome human being," Shulman told blogTO.
"[Sothilingan] said to me, 'Matt, it takes so much more energy to make someone upset than to make them smile' so his goal each day is to just make people smile."
Shulman says he's not too concerned when it comes to what Sothilingan will use the money for.
"The expectation was that he'd be able to pay off some debts, he hasn't taken a vacation in 14 years so maybe he'd be able to take a vacation. The reason it was set up was to hopefully just change this guy's trajectory."
Sothilingan is blown away by the response from the fundraiser.
"I'm really grateful for those who are pitching into the fund. People who don't even know me are donating," he told blogTO. "It shows that we can do a lot of good things when we get together, but Matt also proved that individually you can do a lot too."
Although he says he'd eventually like to go back to school, he has a few other ways he'd like to use the money including donating to schools in Sri Lanka where he immigrated from with his family 17 years ago.
"It's a huge amount but where here that would cover a few semesters, I want to go abroad and do much more because the dollar is valued so much more there," Sothilingan says. "I hear stories every day about bad nourishment and quality of education."
He'll also be using a bit of the money to help his mother pay off some existing debt, who he currently lives with and supports as well as his father.
As for the future, he says opening a gym where he can train youth or running his own Shawarma shop, since he was offered a franchise at a local restaurant near the Tim Hortons, are both options.
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