‘Secret Santa’ hands out $100 bills to Sandy survivors

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good NewsNovember 30, 2012

A wealthy Kansas City, Missouri, businessman plans to hand out $100,000 this holiday season — anonymously.

The Secret Santa has been spotted giving out $100 bills to residents in Staten Island and New Jersey affected by Superstorm Sandy.

"The money is not the point at all," the anonymous benefactor who refused his face be photographed, surrounded by a security entourage, told the Associated Press. "It's about the random acts of kindness. I'm just setting an example, and if 10 percent of the people who see me emulate what I'm doing, anybody can be a Secret Santa!"

Santa and his team choose their stops carefully so as to avoid being mobbed, and are often received with tearful hugs.

In a Staten Island Salvation Army store, he gave 41-year-old Janice Kennedy, an unemployed woman who lost everything in the storm, four $100 bills to help over Christmas and birthday presents for her 2-year-old daughter.

"This is the start of our holiday cheer. We can go Christmas shopping now. It's nice," Kennedy told CBS New York. "He's a great man."

Secret Santa told the Associated Press that he took up the holiday tradition after a close friend, Larry Stewart, passed away. Stewart had given away more than $1 million to unsuspecting strangers at food banks, shelters and thrift stores.

"And I hope I give all my money away before I die," Secret Santa, wearing an "elf" cap, admitted.