"When I found that purse, it was like God put it there."
When Aeric “Bubby” McCoy found a purse behind an abandoned Baltimore rowhouse, he had no idea that returning it to its owner would save his life.
According to Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodericks, McCoy had hit bottom when he found the purse. At 36 years old, he was a heroin addict, in fear of losing his life — to the drug or to the dealers he had run-ins with from time to time.
“I didn’t care about my life,” he told Rodericks. “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.'”
Inside the purse was an envelope with a name and address on it, which Roderick used to track down the owner. When he learned how far away she lived, he was “devastated,” but something pushed him on to buy a subway pass from a stranger, and walk for miles to her neighborhood across town. Along the way, strangers offered him money for the purse he was carrying, but he continued on.
When he finally arrived at the address, a young woman approached him and said, “I’m Kaitlyn Smith. I’m the owner of that purse.”
She told Rodericks that someone had taken her purse the month before, and she had never expected to see it again.
Surprised and grateful that McCoy had gone to so much trouble to bring her her purse, Smith befriended him and heard his story of his descent into addiction and homelessness. She bought him a one-way ticket to a residential drug treatment center in Florida, and set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his stay there.
Today, McCoy, who calls Smith each day from Florida, is ready to move into a half-way house for 90 days. Of Kaitlyn Smith, the 29-year-old medical sales representative whose purse he returned, he says: “That woman saved my life. She saved my life.”
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