A week or so ago I read about a woman in her mid 30s who wanted to donate some toys for the holidays and ended up at a K-Mart in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When her plan didn’t go quite as planned, she improvised. She ended up paying all but a few dollars on a number of unknown customer’s lay-a-way bill. On each of their receipts she wrote, “Happy Holiday from a friend.”
The press picked up the story, of course, and she became known as the K-Mart Secret Santa. I, like many others I suppose, was immediately overcome with a feeling of warmth and respect, but a bit of guilt as well for not having already done something similar.
Then I started to read the comments that followed the story. As you might imagine, they were filled with sentiments of praise and admiration for Ms. Secret Santa. Until…some bozo started ranting that the woman’s motives were actually self-serving, that people don’t give to others to help the receivers, but to gain the adulation of the public for themselves, who he contended would mysteriously find out the mystery woman’s identity.
How sad, I thought, that some people find a way to “negatively spin” such heart-string-tugging stories. I actually felt sorry for this gentleman. Sorry that he must be enduring a sad or lonely existence. Yet…I secretly hoped that he would have to one day eat his words.
Well, well, well, just look at what has happened since. Ms. K-Mart Secret Santa has mysteriously cloned herself…all across the country. People are going to K-Mart and Wal-Mart stores everywhere at an astonishing pace to follow her example. The stories of these Secret Santas abound in local and national media stories. Interestingly, I haven’t yet heard even one of them identified by name. Searching “K-Mart Secret Santa” via Google for stories that have appeared within the past three weeks returns over a quarter of a million hits, so far anyway. Absolutely wonderful news!
I hope the trend continues, and I hope that Mr. bozo finds it in his heart to help another this holiday season for their sake and not his. I hope we all do. Of course, if he and we extend ourselves anonymously, we won’t be the recipient of any external adulation. We will, however, experience oodles of internal joy, just as Ms. K-Mart Secret Santa and all of her clones already have.