Even though Dave Tally of Arizona doesn’t have much money, or a home, and needed to get his bike fixed, he couldn’t stand the thought of someone missing the large sum of money he found in an abandoned backpack.
“It’s not something I wish anybody would have to go through because that’s rough choices,” he said, according to Huffington Post.
Not only did Tally, who is homeless and has struggled with addiction and alcoholism, find $3,300 in cash but he also found a laptop in that bag.
But Tally didn’t think twice about keeping anything that he found in the backpack he found at the train station.
And he really could have used it to help change his life around. Still, he felt it wasn’t his to take.
“There’s a lot of things I could have taken care of but the fact of the matter was it was not my money. I didn’t earn it,” Tally said.
So, Tally took the funds to the Tempe Community Action Agency, it’s the social service organization where he volunteers.
The organization was able to track down the bag’s owner, Brace Belanger, a student at Arizona State University who lost the money while on his way to buy a used car.
Belanger hadn’t seen his bag in over five days and thought he would never see it again.
He couldn’t believe that Belanger returned the funds. To express his gratitude, he gave Tally some money and plans to volunteer at the Tempe Community Action Agency.
“This is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced, I think. It is really is a lesson to keep your faith in people. Character exists no matter what your circumstances are,” Belanger said.
But that isn’t the end of this story. Many in town were very moved by the fact that someone with so little would refuse to keep the money even though many people, who have a lot more money, would have kept it for themselves.
So, much so that they went out of their way to help Tally out. One lawyer offered services pro bono to help Tally with an old court case.
People have been sending him donations, so far totaling more than $8,000. He is working with counselors to develop a plan to use the funds and get back on his feet.
He’s also gotten a lot of job offers and some free dental work. Even the mayor read a proclamation declaring it “Dave Tally Day.”
“I never imagined all this,” Tally, 49, said. “I just thought we’d turn the backpack over and it would be over with.”
According to The New York Times, Tally has been on the streets for more than a decade.
His troubles began around 1999 when his driver’s license was suspended after he was arrested on a drunken-driving charge.
He then lost his job as a supervisor at a landscaping firm and subsequently lost his house.
“I never gave much thought to homeless people,” Mr. Tally said. “I never imagined myself that way. I worked every day. I had a place to live. But all that changed fast.”
Learn more about Tally’s story in the video below.
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