It was a Facebook post in a group for swapping and selling used products that led a small Minnesota community to rally around a forgotten veteran.
Gilbert Hoppe, a 75-year-old from the small city of Mankato, had put his own hearing aids up for sale, asking just $1,000 or the best offer for the specialized devices.
A note included in Hoppe's photo of the hearing aids simply read, "For sale or trade for a good vehicle."
Surprisingly, users who saw the post didn't seem to care about Hoppe's hearing aids, or why he would put them up for sale. Some even left rude comments, telling Hoppe he was "stupid," and would never make a sale.
“It was pretty rude, the way some of them were talking,” Hoppe told the Star Tribune.
The actual story behind his heartbreaking post began in 2012, when Hoppe was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Despite having one of his kidneys removed, the disease spread to Hoppe's chest, and he's been taking chemotherapy ever since to stop the cancer from spreading.
While the Veteran's Administation covers the cost of Hoppe's medicine, a power chair, and a medical bed for his home, getting to his monthly appointments with no car was a struggle.
On top of everything else, Hoppe's wife Linda is also sick. She has to rely on an oxygen tank to breathe because of her Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Hoppe, whose children describe him as a shy man that doesn't like to ask for help, was willing to give up his hearing to buy him and Linda a wheelchair-accessible van.
But instead of making a sale online, Hoppe found a stroke of good luck.
Locals who were touched by Hoppe's Facebook post organized a group of fundraisers to help cover the cost of a new van.
"It broke your heart," Kristi Bighley said about the mean comments on Hoppe's post. "Made you sad, mad."
Bighley organized a silent action fundraiser for Hoppe, and also helped set up a GoFundMe page for him.
Part of Bighley's inspiration for her act of giving was returning the favor to Hoppe. He served in the military for four years in the 1960s, and was stationed in Germany.
"I think we should respect our elders. I think we should help them,” Bighley said.
“They spent their whole life helping us, building us the land we have now. He served us. It’s time for us to serve him."
Bighley and other locals also organized a charity dinner in Hoppe's honor at the local American Legion hall. All in all, Hoppe's caring community has raised more than $30,000 for him and Linda.
“I was surprised at first,” Hoppe said about his generous neighbors. “I felt glad that people wanted to help me.”