Homeless man returns a ring, gets $145,000 'reward'

A Kansas City homeless man returned an engagement ring dropped in his beggars cup by a woman. Her grateful fiance set up a website that's collected $145,000 so far for the homeless man.

By , Associated Press

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    Billy Ray Harris, seen here on a screen grab from KCTV. He panhandles in Kansas City and a woman dropped an engagement ring in his cup by mistake earlier this month.
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A homeless man's decision to return a woman's engagement ring after she accidentally dropped it in his cup is about to pay big dividends.

Billy Ray Harris, who frequently panhandles on Kansas City's Country Club Plaza, discovered the ring after Sarah Darling dumped spare change from her coin purse into his cup earlier this month. Earlier that day, she had taken off her ring and put it with the coins.

Television station KCTV reports that after realizing what she'd done, the Missouri woman returned to Harris and asked if he had the ring. He said yes and gave it back to her.

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"I just hope this results in good things for you," said the woman.

When asked by the KCTV reporter why he didn't pawn the ring, Harris responded: "My grandfather was a reverend and he raised me from the time I was six months old and thank the Lord that there's a blessing, I do still have some character."

Sarah Darling's fiance has set up a website seeking donations for Harris. On Monday, as news spread of Harris' honesty, people from around the world had donated more than $145,000.

Harris is grateful but posed this question to the Darling: "What has the world come to when a person returns something that doesn't belong to them and all this happens?"

The publicity resulted in his sister, who hadn't seen or heard from Harris in years, discovering that he was still alive.  "I want him to come home but we can't make him come home. But I want him to know that we love him and we miss him."

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