(NEW YORK) — ‘Tis the season of giving, and this season, some generous people are giving in secret.
Three unidentified people dressed up as Santa Claus handed out an estimated $10,000-worth of $100 bills to strangers in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
“I’m shocked. Oh my gosh, this is amazing,” Regina Brady told the Charlotte Observer newspaper as she received her cash.
The tradition of handing out money in Charlotte around Christmas started in 2008 with an anonymous local family calling themselves the Secret Santas, the newspaper reported.
But the Charlotte Secret Santas aren’t the only kind-hearted benefactors. In Anthem, Ariz., a man who wished to remain anonymous walked into the local Walmart and paid off the balances on several customers’ layaway items.
The man first came into the store on Nov. 29 and said that he wanted to settle layaway balances — particularly for people who were paying for toys, Joe Malinconico, the store’s manager, told ABC News affiliate WKNX-TV in Phoenix. The first day, the Good Samaritan paid off three customers’ balances. He returned the following day and settled the bills for 17 other customers — to the tune of about $1,600.
At first, customer Patty Hiner found the good fortune hard to believe.
“When they called, I think I asked them three times, ‘Are you serious’? Because I just didn’t believe that, you know, somebody had really came in and paid off my layaway for me,” she told WKNX.
According to Malinconico, the secret Santa said his own children were older and paying off the layaway balances was his way of helping people who were struggling.
“I have a feeling he’ll be back, I do,” Malinconico said. “I’m hoping so. He’s touching a lot of lives.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chandrika Narayan, CNN
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Joe Sutton and Joshua Berlinger, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com