A Boston homeless man is feeling the admiration of almost 3,000 strangers who have donated money to him after he handed in a backpack that he found containing over $40,000 in cash and travelers checks.
The Good Samaritan’s cause has raised more than $72,287 since Monday — nearly double what the backpack’s contents were worth.
Glen James found the black backpack with $2,400 in cash, $39,500 in travelers checks and a passport at the South Bay Mall in Dorchester on Saturday evening. He promptly reported it to police.
Officers then returned the bag to the owner, a student visiting from China, and Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis presented a special citation to James for his “extraordinary show of character and honesty.”
That touched off a campaign to benefit James.
“When I saw an update on the article that mentioned the [student] received his bag back and didn’t mention anything about what James got besides a plaque, I thought, ‘Is a plaque really gonna benefit a guy like that?’” said Ethan Whittington, the person who organized the fundraiser.
“I heard about GoFundMe, Tweeted it out to my five followers on Twitter,” said Whittington, who was then inundated with donations. “It says a lot about Boston, the way everyone responded to that thing.”
“Let’s all chip in and help this man change his life. Every little donation helps,” Whittington wrote on the fundraising website. “Let’s be reassured that there is still hope and humanity in our great nation.”
Many people have contacted Whittington about donating computers to James or helping him find a job. “A dental association even said they’d provide him dental care for the rest of his life,” he said. “He has my cell phone number. I told him he can call me anytime he needs anything.”
Whittington said James was ecstatic about the outpouring of good will and has opened a bank account in the past couple days.
“He is the one who deserves to be thanked,” Whittington said.
Boston homeless man Glen James at a Sept. 16 ceremony with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. (Steven Senne/AP Photo)