There is a man who gives away $100 bills. This “Secret Santa” does this every year and some years he has given away about $100,000. He travels around the country, picking different locations. No one knows his name. He likes his anonymity. Something special happened one year, however. Something that reminds us of what this time of year is supposed to be about.
As usual, “Secret Santa” was going up to people in thrift stores and soup kitchens randomly handing out his money. The recipients were surprised and grateful. As always, he does not judge the person. He does not know or think about what they will do with the money. He believes deep down people are good, sometimes they just need a second chance and a little hope.
Such was the case with one young man, Thomas Coates. When handed the money he looked with wonder at the gentleman who gave him the cash and asked why he handed this to him. The young man appears reluctant to take the gift, stating he has not earned it.
This heroin addict was ashamed of himself. He had recently hocked his own child’s toys for drug money. His girlfriend was at her wits end and the two of them had an argument the night before his encounter with “Undercover Santa”. She told him he needed to pray to God for help and guidance. The trouble is, this young man did not believe in God. He hadn’t prayed since childhood. He did pray, though, that night. He asked God for help.
Now, he stares in disbelief as the man places $100s in his hand. You can see his mind trying to come to terms with what is taking place. He asked God for help and now he is receiving it. He cannot believe he is receiving such kindness from a stranger. Overcome by emotion, the young man breaks down. He says it felt as if God was saying to him, “Have you had enough of everything now?”
Right after his encounter with “Undercover Santa” the young man checked himself into rehab. An offer of kindness from a stranger became the impetus needed to open his eyes to new possibilities. It was a turning point in his life. For “Santa”, this is what the Christmas Season is all about.