A homeless man’s reward for a good deed? $170,000. A Pakistani squash player’s inspiring story. And a nice memory from “The West Wing.”

billyray.homeless

We kick off Good News Friday with a heartwarming story that at the end, makes a pretty scary, prescient point about our society.

Billy Ray Harris is a homeless man living in Kansas City. On a recent day, a woman named Sarah Darling accidentally emptied all the contents of her change purse into his cup.

All those contents included her diamond engagement ring, which she had taken off a few hours earlier and placed there.

Once Darling re-traced her steps back to Darling, she asked him if he had recently received anything of great value that possibly could’ve belonged to her.

How many people, in Harris’ situation, would’ve given it back? He could’ve lied to Darling, then sold a diamond ring for thousands of dollars, helping himself get off the streets, at least for a while.

But Billy Ray Harris gave the ring back. And Darling was so impressed and touched that she launched an online fundraiser for him, and within a week they had raised $150,000 for him. (his page, which you can see here, is now up to $171,000).

“I actually feel like I’m especially lucky to have this ring now,” Darling told CNN. ” I loved it before. I loved it so much, but I love it so much more now. I feel like it has such great karma.”

It’s a great story, and I’m glad Harris will reap the rewards of his gesture. But his quote at the end is really something that stopped me short.

“I like it, but I don’t think I deserve it,” Harris told CBS affiliate. “What I actually feel like is, ‘what has the world come to when a person who returns something that doesn’t belong to him and all this happens?”

Good question, Billy Ray. But one he hopefully can ponder for a long time in a warm, safe place to live, which he’ll now be able to afford.

Beautiful story, don’t you think?

**HBO’s Real Sports continues to do outstanding work, and they wowed me with another inspiring story last week. She was a young woman in Pakistan who longed to play sports, but the only way she could was for her father to dress her as a boy.
She excelled in squash and showed great aptitude for it, but eventually her gender was discovered, and for years Mary Toor Pakay languished in her room, reduced to writing emails to countries all over the world, seeking a place to practice her talent.

She landed in Canada, and now continues to rise up the world rankings, while striking a blow for female empowerment in Pakistan. I highly, highly recommend watching the piece if you have HBO; watch a trailer for it above.

She could be an incredible role model with her bravery in the face of oppression. Go Maria, Go.

**Finally, whenever we have government ridiculousness like we’re seeing now with sequestration and major budget cuts due to kick in today, I like to imagine if we really had a government run like “The West Wing.”

And I watch a clip like this and it makes me happy. Jed Bartlet, we love you.

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One response to “A homeless man’s reward for a good deed? $170,000. A Pakistani squash player’s inspiring story. And a nice memory from “The West Wing.”

  1. dreadpirate82

    I see Billy Ray Harris all the time! Thanks for linking the article, Michael.

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