TEMPE, AZ - People across the country are reaching out to help a homeless man in Tempe after hearing about his decision to turn in a backpack he found with thousands of dollars inside.
When Dave Tally found the backpack at a light rail stop in Tempe, he said he opened it looking for the ID of the owner.
Instead, he found a laptop computer and an envelope with $3,300 in cash.
“Finding the envelope with all cash was just mind-blowing,” Tally said. “A lot of crazy thoughts went through my head.”
Tally said he didn't know what to do at first. He himself struggles day to day so he thought about keeping it, wondering if anyone would ever know.
But he made a decision to turn the money in.
He called a worker at the Tempe Community Action Agency , an advocacy group which helps Tally, and other homeless individuals, find a place to stay.
“It’s not something I wish anybody would have to go through because that's rough choices," Tally said. "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."
After giving up hope he'd see his money again, ASU student Bryan Belanger got a call saying his backpack had been found five days after it went missing.
“It's hard to put into words," Belanger said. "It's just overwhelming."
He was tracked down using a resume found on a flash drive inside his backpack.
Belanger had the money in his backpack because he planned to use it to buy a car.
“It's just the greatest thing I've ever experienced I think," he said. "It really is a lesson to keep your faith in people and character exists no matter what your circumstances are."
It’s a message Tally hopes other will take away as well.
“Not everybody on the streets is a criminal," Tally said. "Most of us have honor and integrity."
Belanger did give Talley a cash reward and offered to volunteer at TCAA.
After hearing about his story, people across the country said they plan to donate money to Tally.
Elizabeth Peterson used to live in Phoenix, but now lives in Tennessee.
She saw ABC15's story on CNN and was inspired by what Tally did.
Peterson said she was once homeless and, after watching the story, said she plans on mailing Tally a check.
"Just to put in his pocket to spend on whatever he wants," Peterson said. "It's the time of year to be giving and I just really wanted to do something to show he really made an effect on me when I heard that story."
Tally said he lost his home several years ago after making bad decisions and spending time with the wrong people.
Stephen Sparks, Director of Operations at TCAA, said Tally has since turned his life around after a battle with a drug addiction.
Sparks said Tally has gotten clean and made strides to get his life back on track and even volunteers at the agency.
If you would like to help, TCAA said there are several ways to do so.
You can donate online to support the shelter program that Dave has been apart of for the past three years.
You can donate to the bike repair shop that Dave has a credit established for future repair at Bicycle Cellar , 480-219-7225 and ask to speak to John Romero.
If you would like to give Dave a monetary gift to support him in general, you can mail a check to Dave Tally, 2150 E Orange Street, Tempe, AZ 85281.
Do you know about another random act of kindness worth sharing? Email us your story at MyAZNews@abc15.com . We'd love to share it with the rest of Arizona!
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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