Glen James (pictured), a homeless Boston man, reportedly found a backpack Saturday at a shopping mall containing $42,000 in cash and traveler’s checks. But instead of keeping it, James flagged down a patrol car so that it could be returned to its rightful owner. Now the Good Samaritan — whose noble words include “even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a penny” — is being honored by his town for his honesty, according to Boston Magazine.
An unnamed Chinese student who was visiting a Boston friend reportedly went to a nearby Best Buy store at the mall when he discovered that his backpack was missing. The student immediately asked the store to report the incident to police.
The backpack contained $2,400 in cash and $39,500 in AmEx traveler’s checks, in addition to Chinese passports and personal documents.
When James handed over the bag to the officers, they in turn took it to a nearby police precinct, and it remained there until its owner could confirm that it belonged to him.
On Monday, James was honored by Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and thanked for an “extraordinary show of character and honesty.” But even though James is homeless, he is reportedly not looking to profit from his honest deed, stating during his City Hall ceremony, “Even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a…penny of the money I found. I am extremely religious — God has always very well looked after me.”
James, who does not want to reveal his age, also made it clear that he does not want to burden anyone, because he receives help from the shelter where he stays and food stamps. He also reportedly makes ends meet by panhandling on the streets of Boston.
Consequently, James thanked the strangers on the streets who have given him spare change throughout the years. “It’s just nice to have some money in one’s pocket so that as a homeless man I don’t feel absolutely broke all the time.”
James’ act of honesty reportedly moved Ethan Whittington so much that he decided to start a crowdsourcing fundraising page for him on GoFundMe.com. Whittington hopes that there are others who will also be moved by James’ honorable act and donate money to help him get back on track.
James once worked as a file clerk at a Boston courthouse but lost his job after 13 years due to tension with his boss.
In 2005, James became homeless as a result of the job loss.
In addition, James claims that he suffers from an inner ear disorder, Meniere’s disease, which brings on bouts of vertigo that make it difficult for him to hold down a steady job.
Meanwhile, Whittington’s fund-raising effort hopes to raise some $50,000. At press time thus far, a whopping $17,732 has been raised.