Michael Beatty wasn’t in the greatest of moods Thursday afternoon.
The 64-year-old from Huntsville, Ala., had recently returned home from two-week stay at a hospital, where he said he fell into a coma because of complications from diabetes and sepsis. Moreover, the Republican’s social media feeds were filled with posts he didn’t agree with, he said — further souring his emotional state.
One of those posts came from comedian Patton Oswalt, whose critical tweet about President Trump pushed Beatty over the edge.
In an interview Thursday, Beatty said he didn’t think Oswalt would ever read his replies. But the comedian responded before taking things a step further — pointing his 4.5 million followers toward Beatty’s GoFundMe account, created to help cover his medical expenses.
Oswalt donated $2,000 to the fund, which had previously accumulated just over $600. In a sudden outpouring of support, the donations began pouring in.
The fund had accumulated more than $21,000 as of Thursday evening.
“I would never have [imagined this] based on what I tweeted to him, Beatty said. “If anything, I expected a scathing retort or just to be ignored, but that’s not what happened.”
Beatty, who says he is living off his retirement check, said he became sick after not properly treating his diabetes. He developed sepsis and diabetic ketoacidosis, serious complications from his diabetes that nearly killed him in December. Beatty fell into an eight-day coma during his extended hospital stay and is now recovering, he said — but needed help paying medical bills that were starting to trickle in.
Enter Oswalt, whose generosity helped transform Beatty’s acidic remarks into compassionate prose:
The two continued their banter, with Oswalt joking that he’d take away his donation because Beatty showed emotion. The man said he hoped to attend one of Oswalt’s shows if the comedian ever performed in his area.
Beatty said the positive replies he’s received from people of various creeds and political affiliations have meant just as much as the donations. He’s tried to reply to everyone he can, he said, and the once-staunch Trump supporter said experience has shifted his perspective.
“After today, I tend to think I’m a tempered Republican,” he said, adding he wants to abandon the “sheeplike” mind-set he’s adopted, which has caused him to judge people based on what they believe.
“I’m having to reevaluate some of the things I’ve gone along with,” he said. “The biggest thing I learned about [Oswalt] is that he is a man of character.”