A homeless man who lives in the streets and homeless shelters of Boston found a backpack at a shopping mall full of money- a lot of money. $42,000 in cash and traveler’s checks, to be exact. But despite the fact that he needed that money more than almost anyone, he flagged down a police car and handed it over to the officer. On Sept. 16th, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis publicly honored and thanked the man, named Glen James, for his honesty during a ceremony.
What shocks me is that James knew that there was money in the bag and gave it to police anyway. How many people would do that? How many people wouldn’t take at least some of it before handing it over, especially if they desperately needed that money? He explained his reasons for returning the money during the ceremony (according to NewsOne.com):
“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.”
I think most people would call being homeless desperate! Yet something in him still made him think of the person who would be missing that money.
An altruistic act is one in which a person does something good for another person without expecting anything in return, and doesn’t expect to gain anything personally from the act. It is not hard to understand why you may be hard-pressed to remember the last time you’ve seen a person be altruistic. And that’s exactly why these stories are important and should be shared when they happen. This story not only shows us that homeless men and women deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, but that kindness is important and means something.
Altruism is difficult to practice, but stories like this can hopefully inspire us to be more kind and compassionate, and less selfish. It also doesn’t hurt that sometimes people remember the good things you do for them and say thanks. Fortunately for James, someone said thanks by starting an online charity for him! To check it out, go to gofundme.com.