After getting into a Twitter spat with a stranger, comedian Patton Oswalt did something unexpected: He donated to the man’s GoFundMe for expenses from a medical emergency. What’s more, Oswalt encouraged his followers to do the same.
Thanks to Oswalt’s support, Michael Beatty raised nearly $35,000 — $30,000 more than his goal — in less than a day.
“He’s a good man and I hope that I can meet him one day to cement a relationship,” Beatty, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, shared on Twitter. “(He) managed to not only let me slide on a rough tweet to him but started something that has me reevaluating friendships and productive dialogue regardless of political affiliation.”
The exchange started when Oswalt, an avid Twitter user, wrote a poem criticizing one of President Donald Trump tweets and Beatty responded with a burn about one of Oswalt’s movie roles.
“I just realized why I was so happy you died in Blade Trinity,” Beatty wrote.
Oswalt replied with a few jokes at Beatty’s expense and said Beatty's response made him “smile.” But then Oswalt looked at Beatty’s account and learned more about him. At the end of December, Beatty spent two weeks in the hospital battling sepsis. He also had kidney failure and ketoacidosis, a complication of diabetes, which has caused permanent damage, according to his GoFundMe page.
TODAY reached out to Beatty, but has not received a response.
After learning about Beatty’s poor health, Oswalt felt compelled to act.
“Aw, man. This dude just attacked me on Twitter and I joked back but then I looked at his timeline and he’s in a LOT of trouble health-wise. I’d be pissed off too. He’s been dealt some s----- cards — let’s deal him some good ones. Click and donate — just like I am about to,” he wrote.
In about 30 minutes, Oswalt and his followers fully funded Beatty’s campaign. In less than a day, they exceeded his original request by almost $30,000. Beatty responded with grace.
“You have humbled me to the point where I can barely compose my words. You have caused me to take pause and reflect on how harmful words from my mouth could resolve in such an outpouring. Thank you for this,” Beatty wrote.
Beatty also said the entire episode moved him to tears. "I'm not a man who ever cries but I had to wait to send this," he wrote.
While some of Oswalt’s fans continued to poke fun at Beatty’s views, others cheered on Oswalt for his compassion.
“THIS is how you handle confrontation. THIS is why I follow you, Patton. Dang. I hope we all take home this lesson on kindness and compassion today,” one follower shared.
“Blessed is the man who can be humbled and admit it. What a beautiful exchange you guys. Wow."