Intregity Through and Through: Homeless or not

Posted: December 5, 2013 by satherej in Uncategorized

This article from the Huffington Post gives 5 examples of people like Glen James [pictured above], who despite being down on their luck went above and beyond to become exemplars of human integrity. I thought their stories were worth sharing:

#1) Glen James: In Septemeber Glen found a bag filled with a passport and $2,400 in cash, along with nearly $40,000 in traveler’s check – but, he didn’t hesitate to turn it in without any expectation of reward. He did so in his time of need, and since then [and notably, because of his act of generosity] he has encountered an tremendous amount of support. The police honored James with a special citation and a complete stanger launched a fundrasing campaign that has raised more than $150,000 for James.

How many of us have found money on the ground and just pocketed it? Probably a majority, but it is people like James – true, and firm in his ethics and integrity that show the true kindred human spirit that all of us should attempt to embody.

#2) The article says that, “This woman showed us that kindness is immeasurable.” The unnamed homeless woman from Winnipeg, Canada opened up a bag of food ast month that Ashley Meilleur, a generous passerby, gave her, she was shocked to find a phone worth over $700. What did she do? I bet you can guess. She instantly called Meilleur’s mom to coordinate returning the cell phone and insisted that she not get anything in return. This was enough for Meilluer, who said that the experience, “restored my faith in the human race,”to establish her own outreach agenda to help others and pass on the kindness.

This kindness is unparalleled, yet it embodies the motive of all good people- to do the right thing and care for our fellow humans.

#3) Billy Ray Harris “exemplified that karma can be a wonderful thing.” The story goes like this:

“There was a brief moment after a woman accidentally dropped her diamond ring into his panhandling cup that Harrisconsidered selling the sentimental piece of jewelry. But he held onto it until the rightful owner, Sarah Darling, returned –- a decision that gave him a new lease on life. Darling and her husband were so grateful for the Missouri man’s kindness that they set up an online campaign, which raised more than $190,000.”

Now, Harris has a home and plans to launch a painting business and was able to have a heartfelt reunion with his long lost relatives- a sweet karmatic that will live with Harris as long as he will. “When I think of the past, I think –- thank God it’s over,” Harris said. “I feel human now.”
#4) Joel Hartman:”…taught us that gratitude comes from unexpected places.” Joel actually came upon a tourists’ wallet in a strange place – the dumpster. What was he doing? Dumpster diving- Ironically enough, for his effort in attempting to find food he came upon something much more valuable, and decided to go above and beyond, enter the hotel and seek out it’s rightful owner.

Hartman actually gave the hotel a fake name when returning the wallet, but the hotel was so determined to reward this act of generosity, that they launched a full on search and eventually found Hartman and gave him a free stay and $500.

It just goes to show, even when you think you have nothing left, you still have the capacity to give back. And it is this very moral that Joel Hartman has taught us all through this extraordinary act of kindness. I think was can all take a lesson, listen to the wisdom and simply try to recreate this goodness in our own lives.

#5) James Brady, while homeless in New Jersey, found $850 and immediately turned it in. “But when no one claimed the money, the police department gave the cash back to the good guy who had already found housing by that time, and didn’t know he had to report his good fortune.” Because of this honest mistake, Brady was put at risk of losing his health benefits – and detriment that Brady’s suppporters would not tolerate. His local supporters defended him and would not let any more unneccesary struggles befall James.

I think that the biggest lessons we can learn from these role models is simple: treat people as you wish to be treated [as people]. The brackets may seem redundant to some people, but as Billy Ray Harris said, “I feel human again.” This feeling lets us get a sense of what being homeless can be like- de-humanizing. We can all try to make this world a better place if we simply treat each other with the respect we would each hope to receive, and remember to pay it forward – hold open doors, help someone pick up scattered papers, or a spilled plate of food – see an opportunity for good, do good and then you’ll have magically created goodness in life where there was none before.

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