(UPDATE) Online fund tops $100K for homeless man who returned money-filled bag

glen james boston homeless ed davis
Glen James, a homeless man, received a special citation from Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis for turning in a backpack that contained more than $40,000.
Credit: Courtney Sacco/Metro

Glen James is used to getting spare change from strangers, but the money people are donating to him now may really surprise him.

The 54-year-old homeless Bostonian who could have changed his life if he had kept a lost bag containing more than $40,000 is the subject of an online fundraising campaign spurred by his honesty.

On Saturday James turned over to police a bag that a man had left behind at the South Bay Center in Dorchester. Inside was about $2,500 in cash and $39,500 in traveler’s checks. Some people might have kept it, or pocketed some of the cash, but not James.

It’s that honesty that led Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis award James a citation on Monday and for a Virginia man to start an online fund to help out James. As of Thursday morning, strangers had donated more than $100,000.

“Let’s all chip in and help this man change his life. Every little donation helps. Let’s be reassured that there is still hope and humanity in our great nation,” the fund’s creator, Ethan Whittington, wrote on the webpage.

Donations on the page have varied between $5 and one for as much as $500.

“Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way! You’re [an] inspiration to us all Glen,” one contributor wrote on the fund’s page.

On Monday James told the media he has a stutter and did not want to answer questions. Instead he gave reporters a handwritten statement that said he has been homeless for eight years since losing his job as a court clerk and has a medical condition that causes vertigo. He relies on food stamps and panhandling to help him get by so he can do laundry and access transportation.

James said that he looked in the bag and saw the money, but didn’t consider taking a penny.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike


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