Starbucks employee says she’s humbled by outpouring of love and donations for new car

A fundraiser to help a woman with car issues took on a life of its own.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 1:01 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ/Gray News) – One simple act of kindness has the potential to blossom into a movement.

Karen Collingsworth, an employee of the Starbucks at Marshall University, has faced some major car problems recently.

Her co-workers, who are also students, wanted to help, but no one could have predicted what would happen next.

Collingsworth, who said she was humbled and grateful, suffered a setback when her old car was broken into and trashed last week, with the catalytic converter even being cut out.

“We were like, ‘She really can’t be driving that car much longer. She needs something new.’ And somebody came up with the idea of a GoFundMe,” co-worker Jaiden Horn said, adding they only expected to raise about $5,000.

The donations rolled in, however, from people who know and love Collingsworth -- current students, students who had long since graduated, faculty and staff.

With nearly $40,000 and growing, it’s clear that Collingsworth really is someone special to many.

“She’s just like a mom to everyone and all the baristas here,” said co-worker Madelyn Witt.

“I just love the way she loves,” said co-worker Cassie Gray.

Some of the donations have even come from people who’ve never met Collingsworth and were simply moved by the story and all the wonderful comments.

But the majority of donations are from people who’ve personally been touched by her kindness.