For the past 26 years, a man known only as Secret Santa has wandered the streets of Kansas City giving out money. In 1979, after he’d been fired again and was down and out, he was pondering his misery at a drive-up diner . . . “it was cold, and the car hop didn’t have on a very big jacket and I thought to myself, I think I got it bad. She sat there in the cold making nickels and dimes. I gave her $20 and told her to keep the change, and suddenly I saw her lips begin to tremble and tears begin to flow down her cheeks and she said ‘Sir, you have no idea what this means to me’ and I thought Wow! I had never had a feeling like that.”
Secret Santa went to the bank that day and took out $200 in fives, tens and twenties and drove around looking for people who looked like they needed help. Since then he’s done it every year, and now, because he has a lot more money, he gives out $100 bills. To date he has handed out about $1.3 million to strangers.
Larry Stewart is Secret Santa and in April of this year, doctors told him he had cancer of the esophagus that had spread to his liver. His treatment costs more than $16,000 a month which (guess what!) his insurance company won’t cover. Larry Stewart isn’t asking for anything, he just wants to speak out and tell people how good it feels to give. “That’s what we’re here for,” he says.
Since his story appeared in an Associated Press article a couple of weeks ago, he has received letters from people around the country telling him what his random acts of kindness have meant to them. He appeared on CNN and choked up when he said, “There’s people praying for me, and I don’t even know ‘em.”
You may not know us Larry Stewart, but we know you. We know that you remind us of what we might become and that’s why we’re praying for you. I’m praying for you too, Larry, and so are all my relatives.