03/26/2014 06:47 EDT | Updated 03/26/2014 06:59 EDT

Richard Wright Gave Free Money Away, And Then He Was Detained In Hospital


When lottery winner Bob Erb left a $10,000 tip at a Saskatchewan restaurant, he was hailed as a generous man.

When an anonymous partner at a hedge fund paid off the student loan debt for two men from Ohio last year, their mother called it a miracle.

Yet when Richard Wright went to Halifax and handed $50 and $100 bills to random people, the police intercepted him and he was sent to hospital for a mental health evaluation, Metro News reported.

The P.E.I. man's detainment has baffled Facebook users who have joined a group that is pushing for his release. The group had more than 4,500 members as of Wednesday afternoon.

Wright hit the news last week, when people in Halifax and Dartmouth reported that an anonymous man was handing out $50 or $100 bills and silver coins and encouraging recipients to thank God and to "pay it forward."

The man spoke of a movement to take the wealth from the "one per cent" and distribute it to the people.

At the time, some people wondered about his mental health. Officers stopped him in Halifax last Tuesday with the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team in tow, but ultimately let him go because he wasn't breaking any laws, CTV News reported.

Bev Cadham of the Halifax-Dartmouth branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association said the man came into contact with two people associated with its program, and she doesn't believe he is suffering from a mental illness, Metro News reported.

The man was later revealed to be Wright.

And despite being let go previously, he was stopped by the RCMP when he returned home to Charlottetown on Thursday, and since then he has been held at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a health assessment, The National Post reported.

Police intercepted Wright after someone called the Queens District detachment and asked for a wellness check on him, RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Leanne Butler told the newspaper.

Wright's daughter Chelsey wrote on Facebook on Sunday that her father is not sick and does not have mental health issues.

Wright's mother agreed that he does not have a history of mental illness, but also said he was not arrested and is not being held against his will, CTV reported.

People who benefitted from Wright's generosity are outraged that he has been sent to hospital.

Bill MacNamara and June Bond received $100 and two silver coins when Wright pulled up to their Dartmouth home last week, and they told CTV they're shocked and angry to hear he's been admitted to a health facility.

Wright, meanwhile, told the network that he plans to seek legal counsel.

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