MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It has only been a day since a Buffalo man who barely uses social media put out a small request on Facebook.
To his surprise, he has received a huge national response.
When your shopping trip ends, Paul Pykonnen’s work begins. He loads up customers and corrals the carts at a busy Menards store in Buffalo.
“Paul is our … role model for Menards,” said general manager Kevin Dahl.
Todd Sandberg is a regular customer.
“He’s always smiling, 10 below, pushing carts in six inches of snow, foot of snow, he’s out there doing it and you’ll never once hear him complain ever about anything. It’s amazing,” Todd said.
Paul has known much greater trials than the Minnesota weather. He was born a twin in Liberia, and was left to starve to death. American missionaries adopted him.
He cannot read or drive, so he rides a bike to work.
“Now he said he needed a new bike and he was going to go start looking for a new one, so I figured it’s time to step in and do something about that,” Todd said.
Todd, who barely uses social media, made a Facebook post and his first GoFundMe to ask friends to help buy Paul a new bike.
He was aiming for $500, but there is now more than $16,000 in donations — and climbing.
“It’s a God thing, that’s all there is, it’s not me,” Todd said.
He happily shared the latest developments with his friend, Paul.
“I’m blessed to be in Buffalo, I am blessed to be with people … that are looking out for people like me with a disability,” Paul said.
Many of the donations are from customers who Paul has helped with his arms, and touched with his heart.
“I’m happy, overwhelmed and excited that there are people out there that care so much about me,” Paul said.
With all the extra money raised, the hope is to help outfit the home Paul shares with his wife, who also has a disability. One way or another, they say this money will go to honor Paul.
Todd will take Paul to Erik’s Bikes in Maple Grove on Friday to pick out his new ride.