A businessman who identified himself only as “Secret Santa” brought Christmas cheer to Reading, Pa., one $100 bill at a time.
Reading has the highest poverty rate of cities across the nation with more than 65,000 residents, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. An estimated 90,000 people call Reading home.
The unnamed Good Samaritan Santa had read about the plight of Reading’s residents, and he spent Tuesday traversing the city and handing out cash to those he thought could use it, the Reading Eagle newspaper reported.
According to the newspaper, the secret Santa gave away $20,000 cash, in bills stamped in red with the words “Secret Santa.” During his visit to the city, he was escorted by police.
In a video produced by the Reading Eagle, the secret Santa walks around handing out money to stunned recipients, including a man who was weeping as he sat inside a bus station. Saying his tears were of joy, he revealed that he had been praying for help just the night before.
The secret Santa is always shown from behind or from the shoulders down. He is tall, wears jeans, a red, long-sleeved shirt and a red cap with the word “Elf” written on the back. His face is never revealed on the video.
The secret Santa explained that helping others helped him.
“I get more out of it than they do,” he said. “I’ve had people say, you know, ‘You saved my life. I was going to commit suicide.’ I’ve had people say, ‘I couldn’t pay my heat. … I hadn’t eaten in days,’” he said.
One woman off-camera could be heard saying, “Oh, my God, who is he? Who is he?”
Another woman, in tears after receiving her gift, replied: “What an amazing man.”