Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Everyone Loves a Good Christmas Story, right?

(We all get a little sappy around the holidays, so here I go...)

I heard a great bit on NPR this morning about random acts of kindness.

These random acts take the forms of Secret Santas, handing out $100 bills to total strangers in thrift stores, cafes and other places that may be frequented by downtrodden folks. Larry Stewart of Kansas City started the tradition in the 70s after a stranger gifted him with $20 at a time when he was down on his luck. After making his fortune in telecomm, he (anonymously) wandered through the community during the holidays, handing out cash to those in need.

Since his death a few years ago, others have picked up where Stewart left off. The NPR piece claims there are anonymous Secret Santas in about a dozen U.S. cities, mostly CEOs who feel like they have money to give back to the community.

The story included audio of the "new" Kansas City Secret Santa giving $100 to a couple in an urban thrift store. They were shopping for a space heater. The Secret Santa asked them how much they had to spend. When they responded, "$10," he inconspicuously passed them a $100 bill and said something to the effect of, "now you've got $110." Even though I couldn't see their faces, I could feel this couple light up with gratefulness and relief.

See more info and listen to the story here.

I always love hearing stories of kindness and generosity, but this year feels especially impactful because of prolific job loss, real estate distress and overall financial woefulness. I hope there are even more Secret Santas on the streets next year.

No comments: