A homeless man in Pennsylvania, who declined to be identified, was on his way to an evening meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous recently. During his walk, he found a purse on a park bench. It contained $300 dollars.  Although there was identification in the purse, the man nonetheless found himself tempted – just as most of us would be.

Rather than keep the money, he contacted the director of the shelter where he was staying. Ashton Munoz, who runs Hearts For The Homeless Shelter in State College, Pennsylvania, drove over to the park. Eventually, the two located the owner of the purse. She turned out to be a single mother in her twenties, undergoing treatment for brain cancer (for the second time).

The young mother (who also chose to remain anonymous) told a reporter that “her whole life” had been contained in that purse. As for the unidentified man who found the purse, when asked if he considered keeping the money, he replied that “Somebody might not have known [if I had kept it], but I would have.”

It’s so easy to forget in today’s time that there is so much good in this world when the media and political leaders solely focus on hatred and evil. In fact, there is much more good than evil. The small, minority that are vocal in their hatred and animosity are drowning out the vast majority who try to do good and do the right thing.

I find it ironic that in this situation it was a homeless man who ended up performing the ultimate act of kindness and selfless behavior. Yet, in many cities in this country, homeless are now being treated like criminals, and even jailed for their condition.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.