Goodwill vs Bonnie and Clyde

The rivalry between Goodwill against the tandem of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow started in 1930, twenty-eight years after Goodwill was founded.

Edgar J. Helms, an early social innovator, began Goodwill Industries in 1902 with the intention of collecting unwanted goods and then giving them to underprivileged people to mend, repair, and use. In 1930, Bonnie and Clyde began Bonnie Charities, Inc., which rapidly grew over the beginning months, creating a heated rivalry between Goodwill Industries and Bonnie Charities, Inc.

Because of the close competition, Helms began to use the press to gain an edge over Bonnie and Clyde. What began as stirring small controversies ended up with Bonnie and Clyde being labeled as ruthless bank robbers.


Edgar Helms of Goodwill (left) and Bonnie and Clyde of Bonnie Charities, Inc. (right)

Goodwill began to thrive off of Helms’ publicity stunt, and Bonnie Charities, Inc. began to suffer tremendously because Bonnie and Clyde were unable to respond quickly and effectively to Helms. As Bonnie Charities began to plummet and news of their “robberies” spread, small town lawmen began to target the two entrepreneurs.

On May 23, 1934, six lawmen in Bienville Parish, Louisiana ambushed Bonnie and Clyde on a lonely road. The two partners were on their way to a charity convention at the Bienville Parish Community Center.


The Ford V-8 Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed in while on a charity tour.

The vision of Helms and his crafty media stunt catapulted Goodwill Industries to the top of the charity industry. It has become a $2.96 billion nonprofit organization.

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6 Responses to “Goodwill vs Bonnie and Clyde”


  1. 1 WhatAReWriteofHistory June 4, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Wow, a re-write of history while bashing a Non-Profit that does good work. How shameful and disrespectful. Please get your history right….

    Bonnie and Clyde were killed May 23, 1934, on a desolate road near their Bienville Parish, Louisiana hideout.[16][23] They were shot by a posse of four Texas and two Louisiana officers (the Louisiana officers added solely for jurisdictional reasons — see below). Questions about the way the ambush was conducted, and the failure to warn the duo of impending death, have been raised ever since that day.

    Texas officers

    Frank Hamer
    B.M. “Manny” Gault
    Bob Alcorn
    Ted Hinton
    Louisiana officers

    Henderson Jordan
    Prentiss Oakley

    The posse was led by Hamer, who began tracking the pair on February 10, 1934. Having never before seen Bonnie or Clyde, he immediately arranged a meeting with a representative of Methvin’s parents in the hope of gaining a lead. Meanwhile, federal officials, who viewed the Eastham prison break in particular as a national embarrassment to the government, were providing all support that was asked for, such as weapons. Hamer obtained a quantity of civilian Browning Automatic Rifles (manufactured by Colt as the “Monitor”) and 20 round magazines with armor piercing rounds.[21][24]

    Hamer studied the gang’s movements and found they swung in a circle skirting the edges of five midwest states, exploiting the “state line” rule that prevented officers from one jurisdiction from pursuing a fugitive into another. Bonnie and Clyde were masters of that pre-FBI rule but consistent in their movements, allowing them to see their families and those of their gang members. It also allowed an experienced manhunter like Hamer to chart their path and predict where they would go. They were due next to see Henry Methvin’s family, which explained Hamer’s meeting with them within a month of beginning the hunt.

    On May 21, 1934, the four posse members from Texas were in Shreveport, Louisiana when they learned that Barrow and Parker were to go there that evening with Methvin. Clyde had designated Methvin’s parents’ Bienville Parish house as a rendezvous in case they were later separated. Methvin was separated from Bonnie and Clyde in Shreveport, and the full posse, consisting of Capt. Hamer, Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputies Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton (who had met Clyde in the past), former Texas Ranger B.M. “Manny” Gault, Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan, and his deputy Prentiss Oakley, set up an ambush at the rendezvous point along Highway 154, between Gibsland and Sailes. They were in place by 9:00 p.m. and waited through the next day (May 22) but saw no sign of Bonnie and Clyde.

    The car riddled with bullet holes after the ambush.At approximately 9:00 a.m. on May 23, the posse, concealed in the bushes and almost ready to concede defeat, heard Clyde’s stolen Ford V8 approaching. The posse’s official report had Clyde stopping to speak with Henry Methvin’s father, planted there with his truck that morning to distract Clyde and force him into the lane closest to the posse, the lawmen opened fire, killing Bonnie and Clyde while shooting a combined total of approximately 130 rounds. By 9:15, the couple were dead. The posse, under Hamer’s direct orders, did not call out a warning,[4] The officers emptied the specially-ordered automatic rifle, as well as rifles, shotguns and pistols at the car.[24] According to statements made by Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn:

    “Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns … There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren’t taking any chances.”[23]

    The memorial at the ambush site in Gibsland LouisianaSome

  2. 2 B. Martinez June 4, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    This is hilarious! just imagine if this twist of the story were really true -it looks like SOME people can’t tell a bluff when they read one

  3. 3 Dave Newell June 5, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Thank you for your comments, B. Martinez and WhatAReWriteofHistory! B, I congratulate you on understanding what this site is all about! History is cool and all, but for crying out loud, it’s downright boring sometimes! :-) Sometimes you just need to jazz things up.

  4. 4 Nathan Gallion June 5, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Dave, it looks like you’ve uncovered something major. I vote that you begin a full-scale investigation on this site into the shady dealings of the store with the audacity to call itself “Goodwill”. What a farce!

  5. 5 elysha September 22, 2008 at 11:27 am

    go bonnie and clyde,theyre my idles….

  6. 6 site July 17, 2013 at 5:31 am

    I am actually thankful to the holder of this web site who has shared this great article at at this place.


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