A homeless man who found a bag holding $17,000 in cash turned it in to a food bank, earning praise.
The situation took place in Sumner, Washington.
The homeless man, Kevin Booth, has been visiting the Sumner Food Bank for five years. He found the bag right outside the food bank.
“He leaned over, picked it up, looked in it and he knew it was money. He waited for our person who comes in at 7:30 in the morning. He waited for her, gave it to her and said, ‘Somebody left this for you,’” Anita Miller, director of Sumner Food Bank, told Q13 Fox.
“It was a big decision for him because he could use it, but you do not take from somebody else. It would be stealing, and he doesn’t steal,” she added.
The food bank staff called the police, who held the money for 90 days. Since no one claimed it during that time, it went to the food bank.
Miller said the bank will use the funds to expand the building so it can provide more services in the future.
The food bank also used some of the funds to purchase gift cards to Fred Meyer, Booth’s favorite local store, and gave him the gift cards. The Sumner Police Department presented him with a citizen certificate.
Booth Describes Finding Bag
Booth, 32, said he saw the brown bag containing the money outside the food bank’s community breadbox, which typically holds food that the needy can grab.
“At first, I was like, what the heck is that lying on the ground?” he told the Seattle Times. He reached in and pulled out a $20 bill. He decided to stay put until a food bank volunteer arrived at the building.
Volunteer Russell Carver was one of those who was there when the food bank’s doors opened on that August day.
“He said somebody left this donation for the food bank, and we were just shocked,” Carver told King 5. “We just couldn’t believe how much money was in there.”
Booth said that he didn’t know that much money was inside and when police officers stopped him and told him later, he was stunned.
“I got stopped later by (officers) and they told me what was in there and I just about fainted,” Booth told the Times. “I’ve never touched that much money and I don’t think I ever will again.”
He described not keeping the money as a hard decision.
“There are a lot of people who would have taken it,” Booth said. “I’m just not that person.”
He said he’s lived in the area for 19 years and has been homeless off and on for 7 and a half years.
Sumner Deputy Chief Jeff Engel said he spoke to Booth. “He said the community could use it more than I could. Spread it out to help a lot more people,” Engel told King 5.
The certificate presented to booth says: “We are all very proud of you and believe that your actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of Sumner’s most civic-minded citizens.”