Glen James, the Boston homeless man who made headlines for returning a lost backpack he found containing nearly $42,000, was honored Monday with a citation at Boston police headquarters. James, who lives simply in a homeless shelter, said he never thought twice about keeping the money, according to The Boston Globe on Sept. 16.
At Monday's ceremony, Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis praised James for his extraordinary character and honesty in returning the money.
James, who suffers a speech impediment, was a bit overwhelmed by the ceremony and all the fuss being made about his good deed. He subsists on charity to wash his clothes, for transportation and for other odds and ends.
James receives food stamps which he calls a "blessing". In a hand-written statement he claims he lost his job as a courthouse file clerk five years ago.
He said it's hard for him to work because he suffers from an inner ear disorder. Meniere’s disease causes him to have extended bouts of vertigo.
He admitted he has relatives he could live with, but chooses to stay at the shelter because he doesn't want to be a burden to them.
James found the backpack outside a TJ Maxx store at the South Bay Mall in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston on Saturday. Inside he discovered $2,400 cash, and $39,500 in American Express travelers’ checks, along with a passport.
James immediately flagged down police and turned over the lost bag. About an hour later, an employee from a nearby Best Buy store contacted police to report a male customer who said he had lost a backpack containing a large sum of money.
Police were able to positively match the passport found in the backpack to the visiting student from China who reported his backpack missing, and returned to lost items to him.
James’s story compelled Ethan Whittington, a 27-year-old from Virginia, to launch a fund for James online. As of Tuesday morning, the fund reached $14,482 in donations from 544 people in just 19 hours.
The Web address for the fund is www.gofundme.com/4by2as.
Whittington writes on the website that he intends to research how best the money can be used to help Glen, rather than just handing the money over and abandoning him.
Seems as though paying it forward is alive and well.
As Glen James made his way out of the police station Monday, he was asked if there was anything at all that he would like.
As he got into a police cruiser that was taking him back to the homeless shelter, he said, "No war".