For the last 26 years, this town has been grateful to enjoy the presence of their own real-life superhero: Jonathan Charbonneau.
Every year for the Fourth of July parade in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Charbonneau has donned a Superman costume so he could bring delight to the townspeople.
His guest appearance as the Man of Steel has made him something of a legend amongst the last few generations of families – but he does a lot more than just wear the costume. He helps small businesses maintain tidy sidewalks, he carries a third-degree black belt in karate so he can be ready to offer protection whenever necessary, and he even stopped a would-be thief who tried to steal a chair from an outdoor furniture sale.
So when Superman was in need of rescuing earlier this month, his town did not hesitate to rally behind him.
Charbonneau has lived alone in the same flat for almost three decades – which is why he was particularly upset when the new owners of his apartment building raised his rent from $455 per month to $800.
Since Charbonneau has Asperger’s syndrome, abrupt changes to his routine can be extremely upsetting. His close friend, Julie Spiller, wanted to ease his anxieties by raising at least $4,500 to help pay the difference in his rent for one year. This way, he would at least have enough time to search for a more affordable apartment that could be located near to public transit so he can continue traveling to his full-time job and karate classes.
When the community heard about Charbonneau’s dilemma, however, they raised over $35,000 in less than a week.
Thanks to the help of a local special needs attorney, Charbonneau just signed a 6-month lease in which he agreed to pay the 75% increase in rent so long as the landlord paid the utilities and he would be allowed to move out at any time with 30 days notice.
The attorney is also using the excess funds from the GoFundMe page to create a financial safety net for Charbonneau in the event that he be unable to work or lose his insurance.
“Jonathan is very receptive to all of this,” writes Spiller. “In, fact I would say he has been ‘giddy’ with everything going on. He feels the love, he feels important, he feels worthy, and mostly, he feels protected like he does for us as Superman.”
Since she has received dozens of messages of support for her friend, Spiller says that she will be compiling a book filled with all of the well wishes so she can present it as a gift to Charbonneau.
“The financial support is shocking and a dream for Jonathan,” she wrote on the campaign page. “More important is all of the love he is feeling, and the personal notes you have shared in support. I will be printing each and every note and making them into a book for Jonathan to cherish.”
Save Your Friends From Negativity By Sharing The Good News To Social Media – Photo by Julie Spiller