A homeless man in Baltimore’s quest to do the right thing has changed the trajectory of his life for the better.
When Aeric McCoy, 36, found a stolen purse belonging to Kaitlyn Smith, his life was a wreck, he said, telling the Baltimore Sun that he thought he was going it do. He is a heroin addict who had been working for drug dealers from time to time.
“If you ask me, God put that purse there because he knew Kaitlyn’s spirit and he knew Kaitlyn’s heart,” McCoy told WBAL.
Three days after the purse was stolen in mid-June, McCoy found it in an alley in west Baltimore, he said. His sleeping bag had recently been stolen from the abandoned house he was living in, so he knew what it must feel like for the owner of the purse.
“I heard a voice that said, ‘You have to give it back,'” McCoy said.
Smith found a bill in the bag and took the Metro to Smith’s home to return it.
“We’re walking to my friend’s house, and I see this man lumbering toward us with a ratty T-shirt and jeans, fisherman’s hat, head down lumbering toward us, and with my purse tucked under his arm,” Smith said.
Smith approached McCoy and asked to buy the purse but he refused.
“I told her this purse belongs to a lady that I’m trying to return it to, and that’s when she said she was the owner of the purse,” McCoy said.
After having a conversation, Smith gifted McCoy a new sleeping back and drove him back to west Baltimore. That’s when he told her that he’s a heroin addict and was trying to go to rehab, perhaps in Florida.
“If you’re serious about going to rehab and I hear from you this weekend, I’ll help you,” Smith said.
Woman says kismet brought back stolen purse via homeless man in need https://t.co/MTguCtlbpH
— Lisa Robinson (@lisawbal) August 4, 2017
Smith then helped McCoy enroll in a rehab in the Sunshine State. McCoy says his hopes for turning his life around are now soaring, calling Smith a “Godsend.”
“I think I can turn my life around now,” he said. “…She’s a godsend. That’s all I can really say.”
The two are good friends and have been talking every day. Smith even set up a GoFundMe page for him.
McCoy is now in a halfway house after a 28-day stay in rehab. Smith plans to support him over the next 90 days so he can make a full recovery, she said.
“This one person is helping me understand why there are so many relapses. So the reason people should help this one person is because this will help a lot of other people. I’m offended by the lack of support that happens after 28 days,” Smith said.
That fateful day when he found the purse changed his life, McCoy said.
“I didn’t care about my life,” McCoy said. “I was in so much pain mentally, I felt like my life had no value. And then, when I found that purse, it was like God put it there. It was crazy, like, normally, I would have just sold it. But this time, for once, I told myself, ‘Aeric, do the right thing, you gotta find the owner and give it back.’ ”