A man who said that he has made millions in the real estate market told the San Francisco Chronicle on May 28 that he created the Twitter scavenger hunt because he wanted to start a “social experiment for good.” He told another paper that he had looked around and saw how many people could not even afford a reasonably priced house.
“This has caused me quite a bit of reflection. I am determined to give away some of the money I make, and in addition to charity, to do it in fun, creative ways like this.”
The mystery millionaire, as he had been tagged, has been hiding cash around San Francisco, leaving clues about the location on his Twitter @HiddenCash site. He hopes that these giveaways will be spent on others in the “pay it forward” spirit.
So far the man has remained anonymous. His Twitter account exploded to more than 150,000 followers by May 28, only days after he started the scavenger hunts. It has become so successful that he plans on expanding into new cities. In fact someone has followed his lead and started a cash hunt in Colorado.
“I have no plans to stop anytime soon. In fact, we will also drop some in L.A. (Los Angeles) next week. I am going there on business. Any (sic) maybe expand to more cities,” he told The Chronicle.
The latest message came early Wednesday morning and read, “San Jose drops in the morning. Showing the South Bay some love and cash.” He asks that people who find the hidden cash take a photo of the location and tweet it back.
Sergio Loza, 28, of San Francisco, said he saw a clue on Twitter Sunday morning with the message "Early bird gets the worm." He raced out and found an envelope with $50 inside taped to a parking meter in the city's Mission District.
Loza said he spent $30 on clothes for his 2-year-old niece's birthday and gave her the remaining $20 as well.
"I didn't spend it on myself," said Loza, a security guard. "It feels good to give, especially in these times."
The results have been a feel-good sensation in California. The Twitter page he started features selfies of joyous people who found the money — flashing smiles and cash — with testimonials of what they have done with the money. The unexpected cash has resulted in presents to others, pizza for the office and parties on the beach.
The man said he’s between ages 35 and 45 — and nothing more. He maintains anonymity because he wants the attention on his pay-it-forward activities, not himself. His only reward – the words and photos the successful searchers post and seeing the joy an unexpected gift can bring.
“There’s absolutely no political agenda, there’s no religious agenda, there’s no business agenda,” the man said of his unconventional philanthropy. “The whole agenda is random acts of kindness and pay it forward and to put a smile on people’s faces.”
He’s been giving away about a grand daily since Friday, he said. He would like other wealthy people around the country to follow his lead: “I’d like for this to become a movement,” establishing a chain reaction of charitable giving, he said. “If you can give back, it’s at least as rewarding as making good investments and getting big checks and making a lot of money.”
Perhaps the funniest part of this social media scavenger hunt is reading on the Twitter site about the media racing to suspected hiding spots to catch video of the winners. "Matt Keller @MattKellerABC7 My photographer has never run so fast. We promise to split it if we get there first."
Have you done a random act of kindness lately? Have you received one? It doesn't need to involve money. It could be holding open a door, giving you a ride to the market, or just saying hello to a stranger who looked sad.
Talk about it below. Let’s start a list of “kindness paid forward.