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Fundraiser for popular Minnesota Menards worker explodes beyond belief

He just wanted to raise enough money to buy someone a bike.

A GoFundMe campaign created to raise a few hundred bucks for a popular Menards worker has raised more than $13,000 in just 24 hours.

Todd Sandberg of Buffalo, Minnesota, started the fundraiser in hopes of raising enough money to buy Paul Pyykkonen, who works at the Menards in Buffalo, a new bicycle. 

Pyykkonen is unable to read or drive, which Sandberg says is down to neglect he suffered as an infant, so he uses a bike as his primary mode of transportation.

"I started off at a goal of $1,500 thinking I might maybe hit $500 in a month," Sandberg wrote. "I hit that in 2 hours or so. Someone told me they couldn't donate because the site said I had reached my goal, so I raised it. Then raised it again. Now I've raised it again."

At nearly $14,000 raised as of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sandberg has upped his goal to $20,000.  

"Each time I raise it, I have to ask myself if this is really happening," he said. "It's surreal, but it's awesome to see a group of people from various backgrounds and beliefs all rallying around a guy who literally has nothing to give other than himself, and it's the very thing we love about him."


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Menards manager Linnea Wheeler tells BMTN that Pyykkonen has worked there for years and is always on time, reliable and ever-friendly. 

"He's very, very well liked," Wheeler said. "He goes out of his way to help people before he's asked. He's just an all around good guy and everyone loves him." 

Pyykkonen can now buy any bike he likes from Erik's Bike Shop, the business Sandberg is working with. Road bikes at the shop cost anywhere from $400 to $10,000, so he's well covered for whatever he chooses. 

Any remaining money will be used to provide a bike to someone else in need, and/or help Pyykkonen and his wife pay for any repairs their home needs. 

The GoFundMe page is flooded with tributes to Pyykkonen from Menards customers who see him regularly.

"Mr. Paul is a man that brightens my day each and every time we meet!" Erik Vanderlinden wrote on the site. "A great man with a heart of gold!"

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