Campaign to reward homeless man who returned diamond engagement ring hits $175,000 - and that total is still rising with 72 days to go

Billy Ray Harris had a hunch Sarah Darling would return for her valuable ring, so decided to take care of it rather than pawn it

An internet campaign to raise money for a homeless man who returned a diamond engagement ring to a woman after it fell into his cup has so far raised over $175,000.

As of 1pm this afternoon, over 7,500 people have donated to a fund to reward Kansas resident Billy Ray Harris, with the ever-growing total now well over the equivalent of £100,000.

And the fund could still grow considerably, as there are 72 days to go before the 90-day appeal ends.

The campaign was set up by the fiancé of Sarah Darling, who accidentally dropped her engagement ring into Mr Harris’ cup while giving him spare change.

Mr Harris discovered the ring about an hour after Ms Darling gave him the money and, although he says he knew it was incredibly valuable, he decided to hold on to it, rather than cash it in.

“The ring was so big that I knew if it was real, it was expensive,” Mr Harris told local television station KCTV, before adding that he’d had a hunch the owner would return for it and so decided to keep it safe.

Mr Harris, who usually sleeps under a bridge, said that a distraught Ms Darling returned to him two days later after failing to find him the previous day.

He told KCTV: “She squatted down like you did right there and says ‘Do you remember me?’ And I was like ‘I don’t know, I see a lot of faces’. She says ‘I might have gave you something very valuable’. I said ‘Was it a ring?’ And she says ‘yeah’. And I said ‘Well I have it’.

Ms Darling described the find as a miracle, adding that she “was so incredibly upset, more than just the value of the ring, it had sentimental value.”

Ms Darling said she rarely took her ring off but that day she had developed a small rash on her finger, so decided to keep it in her purse for safekeeping.

Ms Darling’s fiancé Bill Krejci was so moved by Mr Harris’ kindness that he set up a GiveForward.com donation page.

Originally designed for friends of the couple to make small donations, the appeal exceeded its $1,000 target within the first couple of days.

Now, just 18 days into the 90-day campaign, the total raised stands at over $175,000- all of which will be given to Mr Harris directly.

In explaining why he chose not to pawn the ring, Mr Harris said it was due to his religious background.

He told KCTV: “My grandfather was a reverend. He raised from the time I was six months old and thank the good Lord. It’s a blessing but I do still have some character.”

Bill Ray Harris' donation page can be found at Giveforward.com/billyray

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Representative

£15500 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This international company deve...

Recruitment Genius: Field Service Engineer - Basingstoke / Reading Area

£16000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established name in IT Ser...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue