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Eric's Heroes: A homeless man, a bag full of $17,000 and a tough decision to make

Eric's Heroes: A homeless man, a bag full of $17,000 and a tough decision to make (KOMO News)

In the town of Sumner, there is a beautiful little downtown, full of antique shops and cafes.

If you're lucky and the sun is out and the sky is clear, world class majesty beams down at you on almost any street.

There's a man in Sumner named Kevin Booth. He is eager and agreeable and funny in his own way.

Lately, there has been a purpose in his stride. His chest sticks out a little further than it used to. That's because Kevin is very proud of himself.

"I just did the right thing. And I'm proud of it. Makes me feel good," Kevin said.

Kevin is a special needs guy. He had a brain tumor removed in high school and has been homeless for 7 1/2 years.

He crashes on couches sometimes, stays at camps and spends most of his time just hanging out. Trying to get by.

He's not a drug addict. But he is a bit of a town character...which makes the story you are about to hear all the more amazing.

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Anita Miller runs the Sumner Food Bank where it happened.

"Right here...and he came back to show me himself. It was right here, and he said, 'I bent over and I picked it up,'" Miller said.

It was a brown Fred Meyer bag and it was crammed full of $20 bills.

"I kind of looked at the bag a little bit, put it on the trash can here...that's when I pulled out a twenty, sniffed it to make sure it was real, which it was real." Kevin said. "I was going, 'Who the heck would drop off that much money at the food bank? At this time in the morning?' Nobody does that in this town."

The surveillance video shows Kevin leaving the bag by the back door. A woman working at the food bank thought it was a food donation, but when she looked inside she found $17,000.

"It is a lot of money. It was hard to turn it in, at first. I'm going, 'Do I do this? Do I turn it in?'" Kevin said. "(I) stood around and waited. Finally, 45 minutes later one of the gals here showed up and I took it to her and said, 'I found this on the front porch.'"

Nobody knows where the money came from, nobody ever claimed it. So after 90 days, it went to the food shelter, where it is looked upon as a Godsend.

"It makes you realize there are good people out there, that are living on those streets. We hear the bad, but there's a lot of good people out there," Miller said.

It was more money than Kevin had ever seen before.

He could have lived large with $17,000. But a little voice told him to go a different direction. That little voice was goodness.

If you get to Sumner someday, and you see a guy smiling and holding his head high and looking all proud and happy...it's probably Kevin Booth. The guy with a heart bigger than a sack full of cash.

"This story here...this has been, I'd say, the most terrific story ever in my life. This is a story to talk about for years to come," Kevin said.

Editor's Note: "Eric's Heroes" is a weekly series airing every Wednesday on KOMO News in the 6 p.m. newscast. If you have a good story about a good person doing good things for the right reasons, share it with Eric by sending an email to heroes@komonews.com.



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