Homeless man is given $100,000 by well-wishers after he returned diamond engagement ring to bride after it fell into his cup
A homeless man in Kansas City, Missouri is facing a windfall of more than $100,000 for his kindness after he returned a diamond engagement ring to its rightful owner, which she had accidentally dropped into his donation cup.
Billy Ray Harris, who is homeless and often sleeps under a bridge, was shocked to find that a diamond ring had been dropped in his collection cup while begging last Friday.
‘The ring was so big I knew if it was real it had to be expensive,’ he told KCTV. Rather than pawn it, Harris had a hunch that the owner would return for it and so he stored it in a safe place.
The ring belonged to Sarah Darling, who was devastated the next day when she realized she had lost it.
‘It was horrible. It was such a feeling of loss,’ said Darling. ‘It meant so much to me beyond just the financial value.’
Darling rarely takes the ring off, but that day had put it in her purse for safe keeping after she had developed a slight rash on her finger.
She went back to look for Harris on the Saturday, but couldn’t find him. She tried again the next day and fortunately he was in the same spot.
‘I asked him … “I don’t know if you remember me, but I think I gave you something that’s very precious to me,” and he says, “Was it a ring? Yeah, I have it, I kept it for you,’” said Darling.
She described finding the ring again as a miracle.
To show their appreciation, Darling and her husband set up an online fundraising page on giveforward.com for Harris.
So far more than 3,800 donations have been made, totaling over $100,000. The money will be given to Harris at the end of a 90-day campaign.
‘In life what goes around comes around… Billy - your sweet actions, despite being in dire straits yourself, prove that there is humility in the world… you are one shining example. Lots of love from across the pond,’ wrote Chris and Mel, from Brentwood, England, who gave $20.
‘Several years ago, my mother’s ring was stolen from my house. To this day, I recall the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Hopefully, your honest example will encourage others to pay it forward. Kudos to you, Billy Ray!’ wrote Tero Sturges who gave $10.
‘Mr. Harris, Thank you for being a model of honesty for others. You are obviously a decent man. I am sorry that you have had to live under a bridge,’ wrote Robert in Miami, who gave $20.
The response has been described as ‘unreal’ by Darling’s husband Bill Krejci, who posted an update the site on Saturday.
Krejci said he had met with Harris to tell him about the flood of donations and to get to know him better. They went together to make some repairs to Harris’ bike.
'We talked about a lot of things related to my family's ring and the many donations. We talked about one day in the future the ring may one day be passed down to my daughter,' Krejci wrote on the website. 'We talked about how insanely positive all this has been.'
Harris told Krejci that he has found a place to stay where he is ‘safe and sound.’
Harris has spoken out about the attention he has received since returning the ring.
'I like it, but I don't think I deserve it,' he told KCTV. 'What I actually feel like is, “what has the world come to when a person who returns something that doesn't belong to him and all this happens?'” he said.
Darling has said she is just grateful that Harris was so honest as many others might have kept the ring or sold it.
'I actually feel like I'm especially lucky to have this ring now. I loved it before. I loved it so much, but I love it so much more now. I feel like it has such great karma,' she told CNN.