posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 01:09 PM
A homeless man in Kansas City, Mo., made national headlines more than a week ago when he returned a valuable platinum and diamond engagement ring
accidentally dropped into his cup of change by a woman offering some extra cash. Now, hundreds of donors have contributed more than $16,000 to a page
on GiveForward.com to help Billy Ray Harris get his life back on track. The man's rewards don't stop with financial help -- the media story helped
him connect with a brother in Lubbock, Texas, he hasn't seen in nearly 30 years.
KCTV first did a story on the unintended donation Feb. 9. Sarah Darling had put her engagement ring in her change purse because it was bothering her
finger. A chance encounter with Harris on the street led Darling to give the man her loose change. It was only a day later that she realized her
engagement ring was missing. When she came back to Harris on the same street, he still had the ring and gave it back to her.
The New York Daily News reveals when the woman and her husband returned, they gave the homeless man all the cash she had on her -- around $40 to $60.
Then Bill Krejci, who is a web designer, was inspired by some media outlets' websites where people asked how they could help. Enter
For the next 90 days, anyone can donate money for Harris. The homeless man cited his reverend grandfather, who raised him since he was 6 months old,
as the reason for his character trait that returned the ring to the woman. Individual donations from as little as $5 up to $500 have poured into
GiveForward.com for Harris.
One comment from the Young family, who donated $250, said, "This story was on CNN and it was touching that someone with so little was so thoughtful
and understanding. ... This was a unique opportunity to celebrate a good news story and act of kindness." The CNN piece was on Soledad O'Brien's
The goal was the raise $1,000 for Harris in three months. Instead, more than $16,000 has been given to the cause in just a few days.
Krejci posts updates on the donation website. The most recent one, dated Wednesday, called all of the donors "awesome... over the past few days."
Further, the web designer states he'll be having lunch with Harris in the next few days. Also, the homeless man is staying with a guy who helps run
sound for a band. Krejci calls the amount of donations "unreal."
So what will happen to Harris now? MyFoxLubbock.com reports Edwin Harris, Billy Ray's older brother, wants his sibling to come home to Lubbock,
Texas. The brothers lost touch and have tried to find each other over the past 27 years. When the older brother saw Billy Ray's story on the
Internet, he got in touch and the two talked for 45 minutes. Edwin Harris hopes to bring his brother back to Texas in mid-March.
KCTV reveals Robin Harris, the men's sister, lives in Wichita Falls, Texas. She also saw the national story and got in touch with her homeless
brother thanks to Betsy Webster, the original television reporter who broke the story.
Billy Ray Harris hesitates to come home because he doesn't want to be a burden to his family. Perhaps more than $16,000 will help change his mind.
I know we've all encountered a homeless person before, and most of us never really know who that person is. We either ignore them, or we give them
some spare change.
Well, according to this article, not all homeless people fit the stereotypes that people put on them. Billy Ray Harris is a stand up guy. This lady
came to him to give him her spare change, but forgot she had taken off her expensive engagement ring that she had put in with her spare change. She
gave the guy all of her spare change AND her engagement ring but didn't realize it until later.
Her and the fiance returned to Mr. Harris and he still had the ring and gladly gave it back to them. They ended up giving him all of the money they
had on them which was around $40-$60.
After this story made the news, Mr. Harris has received $16,000 and counting from a fund set up to help get his life back on track, he was able to
reunite with his brother also. So remember, not everybody will steal you things, or do you wrong.. even if they've been shunned many many times, this
guy demonstrates strong character, and I'm glad to see people are donating to help him. Hopefully he can get on his feet and continue to enjoy life.