The game-changing power of generosity

Feb
27
2013
by
Lynne McTaggart
/
0
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Every so often a local hero comes along who entirely undermines our cynical view of the world as eat-or-be-eaten, and if you haven’t heard this story, it will make your day. 

That hero came in the unlikely form of Billy Ray Harris, who confirmed all the evidence I’ve written about concerning the immense, transformative power of the generous gesture.

Harris, a homeless black man who spends his nights sleeping under a bridge in Kansas City, managed to just get by with the change he was able to beg from passersby in one of the city’s squares.

One day, Sarah Darling dropped some change into his collecting cup, but unbeknownst to her what also dropped in was her diamond engagement ring.

That ring, worth thousands, could have transformed Harris’s fortunes, and after she left, a little devil ‘on his shoulder’ urged him to keep him.

The following day Sarah returned to the square. “I don’t know if you remember me,” she said, “but I think I gave you something that’s very precious.”

Mr. Harris, whose grandfather, a reverend, had raised him from the age of 6, didn’t hesitate.  “Was it a ring?”

Every so often a local hero comes along who entirely undermines our cynical view of the world as eat-or-be-eaten, and if you haven’t heard this story, it will make your day. 

That hero came in the unlikely form of Billy Ray Harris, who confirmed all the evidence I’ve written about concerning the immense, transformative power of the generous gesture.

Harris, a homeless black man who spends his nights sleeping under a bridge in Kansas City, managed to just get by with the change he was able to beg from passersby in one of the city’s squares.

One day, Sarah Darling dropped some change into his collecting cup, but unbeknownst to her what also dropped in was her diamond engagement ring.

That ring, worth thousands, could have transformed Harris’s fortunes, and after she left, a little devil ‘on his shoulder’ urged him to keep him.

The following day Sarah returned to the square. “I don’t know if you remember me,” she said, “but I think I gave you something that’s very precious.”

Mr. Harris, whose grandfather, a reverend, had raised him from the age of 6, didn’t hesitate.  “Was it a ring?”

She nodded. 

“Yeah, I have it,” he said. “I kept it for you,” and he produced it from his pocket. 

It wasn’t the first time Harris had returned something precious. Years before, when a retired football player visiting the area with his team lost his Super Bowl ring – the most coveted prize in American football – Harris found it in the square and took it to the Intercontinental hotel, where the team was known to be staying. As a thank you, the team arranged for him to enjoy a three-night stay at one of the city’s best hotels.

Sarah and her fiancé decided to thank him by setting up a fundraising page on the internet, which they hoped would attract $1000. 

But the story soon went viral, and thus far, the site has attracted more than a hundred times that, with $145,000 pouring in from donations all over the world thus far.

Harris has his sights on buying a home with the donated money on Texas, where he has family Bill Krejci, Sarah’s fiancé, writes that Harris now has a ‘very solid plan and a very solid way of making it happen,’ on the site, Give Forward.

Nevertheless, Harris astonished by the attention. “I don’t deserve it.  What I actually feel is, ‘What is the world coming to when a person returns something that doesn’t belong to him and all this happens?’”

It’s very clear to me why Billy Ray’s story resonates so deeply with all of us.  It’s as though by hearing this story, we have all been reminded of a favorite, half-forgotten tune:  this is it, we remember, this is what it means to be a human being.

When generosity is the currency, the game starts changing.

 

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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