Billy Ray Harris has inspired a viral internet campaign to raise money for him after he returned an expensive engagement ring that had been mistakenly put in his donation cup in Kansas City. This is a screen grab of the web site: http://www.giveforward.com/billyray
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A homeless Kansas City man will soon have well over $100,000 after returning an engagement ring to a woman who accidentally dropped it in his cup earlier this month.
"I think in our world we often jump to like the worst conclusion, and it just makes you realize that there are good people out there," said Sarah Darling, whose fiance set up a website seeking donations for Billy Ray Harris, the man who found the ring. By Monday, more than 6,000 people had donated more than $145,000 to the fund.
Harris, who frequently panhandles on Kansas City's Country Club Plaza, discovered the ring about an hour after Darling dumped spare change from her coin purse into his cup. She had taken off her ring earlier that day and put it with the coins.
"The ring was so big that I knew if it was real, it was expensive," Harris told KCTV.
Darling was horrorstruck when she realized the next day what she had done. She went back to Harris, squatted beside him and told him that she might have given him something valuable.
"`Was it a ring?'" he recalled asking her. "And she says, `Yeah.' And I said `Well, I have it.' "
Darling gave Harris all the cash she had in her wallet at the time.
"It seemed like a miracle," Darling said. "I thought for sure there was no way I would get it back."
In explaining why he didn't keep the ring, Harris said he had a religious upbringing.
"My grandfather was a reverend," Harris said. "He raised me from the time I was 6 months old and thank the good Lord, it's a blessing, but I do still have some character."