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
Woolwich terror attack: Suspect Michael Adebowale saw friend 'literally sliced to pieces' in 2008
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Unrest may spread across Europe, warns Red Cross chief
EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 5 Farewell, Shameless. Your heirs have work to do
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.