Last Saturday, a homeless man living in Boston found a backpack with more than $US40,000 in cash and traveller’s checks in it. In one of those reminders that humanity is pretty great, the homeless man, Glen James, brought the backpack to the police, who then returned it to its owner. While that alone might have been cause for restoring your faith in humanity, the next part of the story is even better.
Ethan Whittington, a 27-year-old marketing firm employee, heard about James’ good deed online and thought that he deserved a little more than a pat on the back from the police for being a Good Samaritan. The Alabama native, who has no connection to James and has never even been to Boston, started a fundraiser on GoFundMe.com with the goal of raising $US50,000 for the man. Since he started the fundraiser yesterday, he has already raised more than $US72,000.
“I just found James’ story to be inspiring,” Whittington told Reuters. “We’re so inundated with negative news all the time. James gives hope to people and lets them know not all things in the world are bad.”
Nearly 3,000 people have donated money to the campaign so far, with the average donation being around $US25.
Whittington is still working out the details on how to give the money to James and to best ensure that it impacts his life in a positive way. At this point, according to Whittington, James has asked for a week to think over how best to use the money.
Money hasn’t been the only thing offered for the campaign. According to Whittington’s statement on the GoFundMe site, people have offered to donate clothes, food, and computers. An unnamed “major organisation” has also come forward with the possibility of employing James, an undisclosed donation, and offering guidance for the rest of the fundraising campaign.
Whittington told The Boston Globe that he spoke to James for the first time over the phone yesterday. Whittington said that James sounded happy but was worried about the publicity around receiving so much money.
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