Ever since Hurricane Sandy made thousands of people homeless in the New York area, people have been helping out in various ways, but Thursday’s story about a self-described “Secret Santa” was the first we’d heard about someone just cruising around handing out cash. The rich Missourian went anonymously but not quietly, traveling around New Jersey and Staten Island Thursday with an entourage of cops who called themselves his “elves,” and shoving $100 bills into people’s hands. “A police motorcade with sirens took him across the borough,” according to the AP, and along the way he handed out cash to people at food pantries and Salvation Army stores. Apparently this is a Kansas City thing.
Thursday was “Secret Santa’s” first visit to New York, but it’s not the first time he’s gone on a cash-spreading bender. The philanthropist took over the mantle from a friend of his, Larry Stewart, who made a habit out of going around in disguise and handing out cash in Kansas City in what the Christian Science Monitor called a “long-standing Kansas City tradition.” Stewart died in 2007, and in 2010 the so-called Secret Santa II took over his bizarre and generous holiday habit. According to the AP he’s already split town, after a day of handing out money. His plan is to give out $100,000 this holiday season, but it’s not clear whether he met that on Thursday or saved a bit for Kansas City. What we do know is that if more office Secret Santas operated like this guy, we’d be a lot happier around the holidays.