Are you feeling the holiday spirit yet? The carols doing their magic? No? Maybe this will. A Secret Santa has been wandering around areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy handing out $100 bills to every storm victim he meets.
His elves are members of the NYPD, New Jersey cops, and even some folks from the FBI who are keeping the red-suited guy and his load of cash -- literally, it is all his own money -- safe. But somehow that just makes this whole thing that much more inspiring. And his message that much more clear.
You, me, we could all do more.
The anonymous Santa (all we know is he's from Missouri and he has got one heckuva big bank account and the heart to match), who hit Staten Island, New York, and Elizabeth, New Jersey, the other day with his pile of $100s and his protection detail, isn't interested in getting some glory for what he's doing. What he does want is something better. As he told a reporter who caught up with him on the trail:
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!
Ten percent. That's not many people, but he's right. We don't need that many people to do something huge.
Then again, just think what we could do if everyone stepped up. If every single person saw this Secret Santa's gift to the victims of Hurricane Sandy and said, hey, I want to help, I want to do something.
When I fundraise to help kids with cancer every year, I always set my goal at $1,000, and I tell people that if just 100 gave $10, I'd be there. It never works like that -- usually it's fewer people giving much more. But I can't stop hoping that more will step in.
Living just a few hours north of New York City, in an area that was hit by Sandy but spared the worst of her wrath, I've seen some incredible things. I've seen people who are far from rich pull together spur of the moment clothing and toiletry drives, then hop in the car to take it all to people in need on Long Island. I've seen new moms who are all caught up in the craziness that is having a new baby taking time out to find diapers for a mom who might have lost her entire home in the storm.
No one I know personally has the resources of this Secret Santa. But as we saw just this week in the incredible photo of an NYPD officer buying shoes for a barefoot homeless man in Times Square, it doesn't take a million dollars to make a difference. If a million of us gave a dollar, we'd be there.
What do you think of this Secret Santa and his mission? Will you be one of the 10 percent?
Image via AurelienS/Flickr