KANSAS CITY (KCTV) — A woman trying to help out a homeless man on The Plaza ended up giving away a lot more than a little change. She accidentally gave him her engagement ring, but the twist to the story is what the man did with it.
People hearing this story might think the homeless man’s luck would similar to winning the lottery – you live under a bridge, then, the next thing you know, you end up with platinum and diamonds. For some, it could be a life changer.
Billy Ray Harris got that change and then some last Friday.
“The ring was so big that I knew if it was real, it was expensive,” Harris said.
He didn’t notice it in his orange cup until almost an hour after its original owner unzipped her wallet and dumped her change into it.
“My rings were bothering me, so I put them in my coin purse,” Sarah Darling explained.
Darling said she didn’t realize what she’d done until the next day.
“I was so incredibly upset because, more than just the value of the ring, it had sentimental value,” she said.
Her high emotions were justified because the item she had accidentally dumped into Harris’ cup along with her spare change was her engagement ring after all.
Harris didn’t know that, but he knew plenty well how sentiment matters more than money.
“She squatted down like you did like right there and says ‘Do you remember me?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know. I see a lot of faces.’ She says, ‘I might have gave you something very valuable.’ I said, ‘Was it a ring?’ And she says, ‘Yeah.’ And I said ‘Well, I have it,'” Harris said.
“It seemed like a miracle. I thought for sure there was no way I would get it back,” Darling said.
Some may wonder, based on Harris’ current situation, why he didn’t just pawn it and start a new life.
“My grandfather was a reverend. He raised me from the time I was 6 months old and thank the good Lord, it’s a blessing, but I do still have some character,” he said.
“I think in our world we often jump to like the worst conclusion, and it just makes you realize that there are good people out there,” Darling said.
Harris had lots of great lost and found stories to tell, including one that happened, a long time ago, during a Chiefs-Raiders game. There was a retired Raiders player in The Plaza with his friends. They’d been drinking, and he jumped into Brush Creek, that runs alongside the entertainment district. The retired player got out and told everyone he lost his Super Bowl ring in the creek. Harris found it, later, on the pavement here. He walked all the way over to the Intercontinental Hotel, where he figured they were staying, told the desk clerk and got it back to its owner. He got a generous reward that time and a three-night stay in the Rafael Hotel.
Darling also gave Harris a reward – she gave him all the cash she had in her wallet at the time.
By Laura McCallister and Betsy Webster