A 55-year-old homeless Kansas City man’s life turned around after a young woman dropped a valuable engagement ring into his cup.
Billy Ray Harris had been homeless and living on the streets of Kansas City for years, panhandling on the same street corner. Among the passers-by who dropped coins into his cup was Sarah Darling.
Sarah walked past Billy Ray and was moved to help. She reached into her purse and fished out a few coins which she dropped into his cup. Inadvertently, she also ‘donated’ her engagement ring.
Billy Ray was stunned to find the ring among the quarters. the dimes and the nickles. He had the ring appraised and was astounded to discover it was worth over $4,000.
For a man living on the streets and sometimes going hungry, it was incalculable riches, and Billy Ray thought about selling the ring — but he just couldn’t go through with it.
A few days later he spotted Sarah passing by his corner and he returned her ring. Sarah was amazed to recover the ring she’d thought was gone forever and moved by Billy Ray’s honesty.
Billy ray could have sold the ring, but his honesty ended up bringing him a far greater reward.
WIth her husband Bill Krejci, the mom of a 20-month-old daughter started a fund to raise money to give Billy Ray a new star. To their astonishment, Billy Ray’s story struck a chord.
In three months long the fund reached an incredible $190,000, and Billu Ray was able to buy himself a car, and make a down payment on a house he is fixing up himself.
Sarah and Bill set up a trust fund with the rest of the money, to safeguard Billy Ray’s well-being. Their story became headline news on several TV networks nationwide and brought Billy Ray yet another miracle.
Billy Ray’s family, who had been searching for him for 16 years finally managed to get in touch. The homeless man who was alone in the world is alone no longer and has been meeting nieces and nephews he hadn’t know existed. Billy Ray said:
“I feel human now (…) This is what they call the American Dream.”
Billy Ray thanked all the people who had donated to his fund and gifted him with a new beginning after so many hopeless years. He is now part of Sarah and Bill’s family and often attends basketball games with them.
The couple, who are Kansas City Royals, swear by Billy Ray as a lucky charm. Every time he is present, the home team wins, and that makes for six in a row so far.
What can we learn from this story?
1. Honesty is its own reward. Billy Ray could have sold the ring, but his honesty ended up bringing him a far greater reward, his own home, and a family.
2. A helping hand can change a life. All the small donations added up gave Billy Ray a new start in life.