When Kevin Booth, who is unfortunately homeless, made an early-morning stop at the Summer Food Bank in Washington state a few months ago, he found quite the surprise waiting for him outside.
As Booth was walking up to the food bank, he noticed a brown paper bag on the ground outside the food bank’s community bread box.
“At first, I was like, what the heck is that lying on the ground?” Booth told The News Tribune in an interview.
Booth reached into the bag and pulled out a $20 bill.
“Of course, I sniffed it to see if it was real,” he said. “Then I was like, do I take off or do I stay?”
He chose to stay, and gave the bag to a food banker volunteer once she arrived, not fully realizing how much money the bag truly contained.
“She went in to weigh it, thinking it was food,” Miller said.
But it wasn’t food.
Unbeknownst to Booth or the food bank volunteers, there was $17,000 in the bag.
Obviously stunned by what they found, they chose to contact the police who verified the money inside the bag was in fact real, and reviewed security footage to see who may have dropped the bag, or left it beside the food bank.
The security footage wasn’t helpful in determining who may have left the bag, but it did clearly show who found it.
“I got stopped later by (officers) and they told me what was in there and I just about fainted,” Booth said. “I’ve never touched that much money and I don’t think I ever will again.”
The officers took the cash with them and held it for 90 days, the required amount of time under state law for someone to claim ownership over an item.
No one ever claimed the cash, so the money went back to the food bank, who then purchased gift cards to give to Booth as a reward for his integrity.
Giving up the money was, understandably, never an easy decision for Booth, who has been homeless off and on for more than 7 years.
Police Chief Brad Moericke said officers in the community know Booth well and they’ve “always had a good relationship.”
Last Thursday, Moericke presented Booth with a citizen’s certificate, and noted that Booth told officers that he knew giving the money to the food bank would help far more people in need than just himself.
“Not every citizen would be as honest as you in this situation,” Moericke told him.
“There are a lot of people who would have taken it,” Booth said. “I’m just not that person.”
A Summer resident has setup a Go Fund Me, with Booth’s permission, to raise money to help this selfless man get back on his feet.
As of this posting, the Go Fund Me account has raised more than $1,200 of their $10,000 goal.
You can watch a CBS 17 segment on Booth’s selfless act here: