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Anonymous Secret Santa: Businessman Hands Out $100 Bills In America's Poorest City (VIDEO)

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The Huffington Post     First Posted: 12/01/11 05:15 PM ET Updated: 12/08/11 09:17 AM ET

He's just like the real Santa Claus except he's a bit slimmer, doesn't have the huge beard and, rather than leaving gifts under the tree, he gives away $100 bills to complete strangers.

Oh, and he also has a police escort.

A businessman dressed in red and wearing a Kangol cap with "Elf" embroidered on the back surprised residents of Reading, Pa. this week when he visited thrift stores, laundromats and bus stations and handed out $100 bills to people he met along the way.

Ron Devlin, who first reported on the Secret Santa in the Reading Eagle and accompanied the good Samaritan as he walked around the city, told NBC Philadelphia that "people were just blown away."

Devlin told the TV station that the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was inspired to visit Reading when he learned that it was the poorest city in the America.

"He thought that maybe there's a lot of people in Reading who need a hand this Christmas," Devlin said.

In the Eagle, Devlin described an encounter with Thomas Coates Jr., an unemployed man at a local bus station:

Identifying himself only as Secret Santa, the stranger handed Coates two crisp $100 bills and wished him a Merry Christmas.

Coates, 36, who lives in Pottstown with his girlfriend and son, wept.

"I was brought up to believe that you take care of your family, but I can't find a job," said Coates, burying his face in his hands. "This man said to me, 'You're a good man,' and it felt good to hear that."

According to the Eagle, the man gave away a total of $20,000.

But this Santa Claus says it's more about him than it is about the people he's helping.

"That's where I get so much satisfaction," he said in video from the Eagle. "Because behind every one, there's a story. And to hear their story, and what a difference that little bit of money at that little point in time makes in their life, gives me an awful lot of joy. So there's a lot of happiness that comes with this. I get more joy out of it than they do."

There is one catch, though: The Secret Santa asks each person do something kind for someone else before Christmas.

"Anybody can be a Secret Santa," he says in the Eagle video. "All they have to do is act. And it doesn't have to be about money. It can be any random act of kindness of any kind."

Click here to read the full story in the Reading Eagle.

WATCH: Secret Santa in Reading: