Shortly after the touching story and photo of a NYPD officer buying a barefoot homeless man a pair of shoes went viral, more news of holiday giving has surfaced. This time, it's not a cop, but a mysterious wealthy businessman who calls himself a "Secret Santa."
According to the Associated Press, the anonymous Santa, who hails from Kansas City, is giving away $100,000 this holiday season to unsuspecting strangers across the country. He made his East Coast stop last week, surprising residents of New York and New Jersey, many who've been affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Accompanied by a police motorcade (lest word get out that he's carrying thousands of dollars on his person), the Secret Santa made his rounds last Thursday, handing out $100 bills at disaster centers and thrift stores in Staten Island.
From the AP:
At a stop at a Staten Island Salvation Army store, one woman was looking over a $4 handbag. "But you get $100!" he told her, offering the bill."Are you serious?" said Prudence Onesto, her eyes widening. "Really?""Secret Santa," he deadpanned, breaking into a broad grin.The 55-year-old unemployed woman opened her arms and offered him a hug.An aisle over, 41-year-old Janice Kennedy was overwhelmed: She received four $100 bills.
The Secret Santa told the AP that the money "is not the point at all," but rather about setting the example for random acts of kindness.
This mysterious Santa reminds us of another anonymous Santa—the popular YouTube personality Mr. Chi City, and his yearly Christmas giveaways. In his annual Christmas videos, Mr. Chi-City drives around Chicago and hands out Christmas cards with cash to spread a little holiday cheer.
Over in North Carolina, a whole shopping mall—the Asheville Mall—has gotten into the holiday spirit, creating a "Random Acts of Kindness" program, paying for portions of 35 to 40 random shoppers' purchases, USA Today reports. Jeff Washburn, general manager of the mall, walked around and surprised shoppers in the checkout lines and around the mall, handing them gift cards and encouraging them to in turn help someone else.
Random acts of kindness are the best, but remember! They're not just limited to the holidays—even if you don't have $100 to give out, there are always the little gestures that can go a long way.