What This Homeless Man Can Teach You About Doing the Right Thing

When Billy Ray Harris, who is homeless, returned a diamond ring, the rewards for his honesty exceeded everyone's expectations.
Author, Profit First
February 25, 2013

Billy Ray Harris, a homeless man in Kansas City, Missouri, got more than just a handful of change poured into his cup. He got a diamond ring, something the owner, Sarah Darling, had put in her change purse and forgotten, at least until she emptied the coin purse along with the ring. She remembered later and frantically went back, looking for Harris. When she finally found him the next day, he said, “I have it, I kept it for you.” Then he returned the ring. Darling and her husband were so moved and appreciative, they set up a fundraising site for Harris. They hoped to raise a few hundred dollars to help him and were shocked by the response. The site has raised more than $141,000, and donations are still coming in.

There is a really simple business lesson here. Good deeds get rewarded, often twice. First you get rewarded with the knowledge that you did the right thing. And sometimes people take notice and they reward you with recognition, and trust, and in this case $100,000-plus. Become a business that is known for always doing the right thing, even if the customer (or the world) will never find out. You will be rewarded in internal satisfaction and often in the biggest ways imaginable.


Read more Marketing Watch articles.

Photo: GiveForward