October 5, 2013

Fund for honest homeless man grows to $150K

The Virginia man who set up the fund for Glen James travels to Boston to meet him.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — The honesty of a homeless man who handed a lost, cash-filled backpack over to police has inspired more than $150,000 in donations to a fund set up in his honor, the fund’s organizer said Friday.

click image to enlarge

Glen James, of Boston, left, smiles in the direction of members of the media as Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, right, looks on during a news conference at the police headquarters, in Boston on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. James, who is homeless, turned in a backpack containing $2,400 in U.S. currency, almost $40,000 in traveler's checks, as well as Chinese passports and other personal papers to police after finding the items in a Boston mall late Saturday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

click image to enlarge

Glen James, of Boston, right, holds a special citation while facing reporters with Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, left, during a news conference at police headquarters, in Boston, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. James, who is homeless, turned in a backpack containing $2,400 in U.S. currency, almost $40,000 in traveler's checks, as well as Chinese passports and other personal papers to police after finding the items in a Boston mall Sept. 14. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

AP

Ethan Whittington, of Midlothian, Va., traveled to Boston this week to meet with Glen James and give him the good news of his financial windfall.

James was hailed as a hero last month after he turned in a backpack he found at a mall. It contained more than $2,000 in cash and nearly $40,000 in traveler’s checks.

When Whittington, 28, read about James’ honesty, he started a fund on the crowd-funding website gofundme.com. Since then, more than 6,000 donations have come in from people around the globe, raising just over $150,000 by late Friday afternoon.

Whittington said when he met James in Boston Thursday, he shook his hand and gave him a hug.

“He kept saying, ‘Thank you,’ “ Whittington said. “You’ve got to continue to remind him that he is one who should be thanked, and he is the one who inspired people around the world because of his good deed.”

Whittington said he and James talked about ways for James to use the money to improve his life. He said James’ sister has found a lawyer who is setting up a trust fund for him. James has found an apartment and is looking into job training programs.

Whittington read about James after Boston police honored him with a special citation for turning in the backpack.

James could not be reached for comment Friday.

During a press conference at Boston police headquarters last month, James, who is in his 50s, handed out a hand-written statement saying he has been homeless since losing his job as a file clerk in a Boston courthouse in 2005. He said it would be difficult for him to hold down a job because he suffers from an inner ear disorder that causes episodes of vertigo.

He said he never considered keeping the money in the backpack.

“Even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a penny,” he said in the statement.

Whittington said he’s been overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers who donated to the fund.

“Really, for me, it kind of restores your faith in the human race,” he said. “You get to see that there are some good people out there. We can come together and accomplish something together.”

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)