Charity Pays Off
In November 2021, we saw a Southern California freeway come to a halt when an armored vehicle crashed. It wasn’t that traffic was obstructed due to the accident. Instead, traffic deadlocked as people got out of their cars to pick up the loose money. The story of Glen James — a homeless man who turned in money he found — unfolded quite differently.
In fact, rather than getting arrested like some of the drivers in California, Glen received a plaque and civil ceremony. Thinking that this wasn’t quite enough of a blessing, a stranger from 500 miles away started a GoFundMe in Glen’s name. What happened next is a testament to the power of honesty, integrity and giving when it’s the right thing to do.
Homeless Man Turns in Money — A Fortune for Many
James Glen had been to many parts of Boston, but a strip mall was exactly where he needed to be one day. He came across an abandoned backpack there. When he looked inside, he noticed a passport. It was the $40,000 in cash and traveler’s checks, though, that really caught his eye. In a city with one of the highest costs of living in America, that money could come in handy.
Rather than thinking about how this discovery could help him, though, James immediately knew what he had to do. He told reporters,
“I noticed a lot of hundred-dollar bills, and I said ‘Oh my goodness, this has to get back to its rightful owner… Even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a penny of the money found. God has always very well looked after me.”
Some people are all talk when they speak of doing the right thing. James isn’t one of them. He handed the backpack over to the police. Whether someone knows how to make a budget or just spends their money as they get it, $40,000 can do a lot. In fact, about one-quarter of Americans make less than this in a whole year.
A homeless man turning in found cash may seem astounding to some — especially if they knew that Glen had been unhoused for five years. For Glen, though, there was only one righteous option. Fortunately, he was quickly rewarded for his deed.
The Reward for Glen James
After Glen returned the small fortune he discovered, police were able to find the student traveller who had lost it. There was a small ceremony held in Glen’s honor to recognize his honesty, and he received a plaque for his actions. When a man living in Virginia saw the story, though, he took the step of setting up a GoFundMe account for Glen.
Within four hours of starting the campaign, users donated over $3,000. This is a prime example that dispels many digital giving myths. The truth is that people give when they’re motivated to give. Fortunately for Glen, many others became motivated as well. By the time the fundraiser winded down, it had raised over $165,000 for the honest man living on Boston’s streets.
That’s more than four times the value of the contents inside that fateful backpack. The fundraiser set Glen up with a trustee and support group, and he received housing assistance along with guidance on job training, finances and more. Glen gave what he had available to give — honesty and a backpack of money. Far too many people don’t give even when they have much more.
In reality, this is likely why many folks don’t get the blessings they so desire.
How DonorWerx Can Help
Doing what’s right shouldn’t be contingent on one’s own economic situation. Glen James could have gone about his day with $40,000 in cash and traveler’s checks. Considering his situation, many people would not have blamed him. He did what was right, though, and he was rewarded for his actions. It’s important to remember that this is how the world works.
Even if our actions don’t result in a reward of $165,000, good comes back to us in many ways. Reminding churchgoers of this fact is necessary in order to keep the ministry strong. Congregants are the main source of funding for what the church does, so if you’re not effectively communicating this to parishioners, your ministry will suffer because of it.