Whoa ho-ho! 'Secret Santa' hands out $100 bills in Reading

Amber Rapp, a cashier at Goodwill Industries , reacts to her gift from Secret Santa (in hat). "I just love people like this," she said.
Amber Rapp, a cashier at Goodwill Industries , reacts to her gift from Secret Santa (in hat). "I just love people like this," she said. (JEREMY DREY / Reading Eagle)
Posted: December 03, 2011

Calling himself Secret Santa, an anonymous businessman doled out scores of $100 bills Tuesday in Reading, one of America's poorest cities.

In all, about $20,000 was given out by the light-haired, clean-shaven man, who sported a red shirt and a red cap with the word Elf on the back as he was accompanied by police at a bus station and other locations.

The generosity brought at least two people to tears, as seen on a Reading Eagle video.

"There's a lot of happiness that comes of this," he says in the footage. "I get more out of this than they do."

In the newspaper's write-up, the man tells how he is following in the boot steps of Kansas City's Larry Stewart, who gave away more than $1 million over 25 years as a Secret Santa. Stewart died in early 2007, shortly after revealing his identity.

"I promised him on his deathbed that I would continue the tradition," the latest Santa said.

He plans to spread more cheer in other cities, accompanied by the likes of comedian Larry the Cable Guy, the newspaper said.

Census data ranks Reading as having the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line among cities with 88,000 people or more.


To see the Secret Santa in action in Reading, go to www.philly.com/secretsanta


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

|
|
|
|
|