Dave Tally has no home and few possessions. He rarely has enough to eat. So, when the Tempe, Arizona man discovered an abandoned backpack with $3,300 in cash last week, the temptation to keep the money for himself must have been unbelievable—he could have rented an apartment, picked up some groceries, maybe even fixed his bike. But instead, he did the unexpected: he turned the money into the Tempe Community Action Agency, where he volunteers.
The organization was able to find the source of the cash: a student who’d been planning to use the money to purchase a used car. The student was grateful to have the money returned—and once word spread about Tally’s good deed, the homeless man was richly rewarded.
Strangers around the country have been moved by Tally’s selfless deed, and have sent him donations, totaling far more than the contents of the backpack. He’s been offered jobs to help him get back on his feet. A local dentist has donated a new set of teeth, and a lawyer is working pro bono to help Tally handle an old court case. Most impressively, the city of Tempe proclaimed last Thursday to be Dave Tally Day.
But for Tally, a man who lost his job and home a decade ago after a drunk-driving charge, the best reward he’s received is the newfound respect that he and the homeless community have gained as a result of his actions.
The other day, he said, one of his friends on the street called out: “Thanks, man. You made us all look good.”