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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk Viking's Avatar
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    Default Secret Santa reveals his identity

    I saw this on CNN this morning this morning as well:


    KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For 26 years, a man known only as Secret Santa has roamed the streets every December quietly giving people money. He started with $5 and $10 bills. As his fortune grew, so did the gifts. In recent years, Secret Santa has been handing out $100 bills, sometimes two or three at a time, to people in thrift stores, diners and parking lots. So far, he's anonymously given out about $1.3 million. It's been a long-held holiday mystery: Who is Secret Santa?

    But now, weak from chemotherapy and armed with a desire to pass on his belief in random kindness, Secret Santa has decided it's time to reveal his identity.

    He is Larry Stewart, a 58-year-old businessman from the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, Mo., who made his millions in cable television and long-distance telephone service.

    His holiday giving started in December 1979 when he was nursing his wounds at a drive-in restaurant after getting fired. It was the second year in a row he had been fired the week before Christmas.

    "It was cold and this car hop didn't have on a very big jacket, and I thought to myself, `I think I got it bad. She's out there in this cold making nickels and dimes,'" he said.

    He 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. She said, `Sir, you have no idea what this means to me.'"

    Stewart went to the bank that day and took out $200, then drove around looking for people who could use a lift. That was his "Christmas present to himself." He's hit the streets each December since.

    While Stewart has also given money to other community causes in Kansas City and his hometown of Bruce, Miss., he offers the simple gifts of cash because it's something people don't have to "beg for, get in line for, or apply for."

    That was a feeling he came to know in the early '70s when he was living out of his yellow Datsun 510. Hungry and tired, Stewart mustered the nerve to approach a woman at a church and ask for help.

    The woman told him the person who could help was gone for the day, and Stewart would have to come back the next day.

    "As I turned around, I knew I would never do that again," Stewart said.

    Over the years, Stewart's giving as Secret Santa grew. He started a Web site. He allowed the news media to tag along, mostly because he wanted to hear about the people who received the money. Reporters had to agree to guard his identity and not name his company, which he still does not want revealed.

    His entourage grew over the years, and he began traveling with special elves. People like the late Negro Leagues icon Buck O'Neil, who handed out hugs while Stewart doled out $100s. NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus will join Stewart this year in Chicago when Stewart hands out $100s in honor of O'Neil, the first African-American coach in the Major Leagues.

    They'll give out $100,000 between Chicago and Kansas City. Four Secret Santas who Stewart "trained" will hand out an additional $65,000.

    Doctors told Stewart in April that he had cancer of the esophagus and it had spread to his liver. He has been lucky, he says, to get into a clinical trial at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. But the aggressive chemotherapy has stripped away his appetite and energy. He's lost about 100 pounds, but has held onto his white hair.

    The treatment costs more than $16,000 a month, not including the cost of traveling to Houston every two weeks and staying there for five or six days. He now has two months off, but returns to treatment in February.

    His insurance company won't cover the cost of the treatment, which has left him concerned about his finances and his family.

    Now, his mission is bigger than handing out $100 bills. Stewart wants to speak to community groups about his devotion to kindness and to inspire others to donate their time and money.

    "That's what we're here for," Stewart says, "to help other people out."
    "Viking - last to sleep, first to rise, last to leave, that's how the Nords of old rocked the house." ~ timmac in the 'Texas Linkers' thread talking about yours truly. :-)

  2. #2
    Eruption Executionor's Avatar
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    I am so glad to see that there is someone that is completely unselfish left int he world. Great for him. It makes me feel good just knowing there is someone like this.

    Unbelieveable. I tell you there is something else that is even more unbelieveable is the cost of friggin cancer therapies and the drugs. My father-in-law had intestinal cancer and it cost him $27,000 per treatment and he had 8 treatments in a row. That was just for the handfull of drugs. Most people cannot afford that and the alternative isn't too good. Pharmaceutical companies have you over a barrel.
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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Executionor View Post
    I am so glad to see that there is someone that is completely unselfish left int he world. Great for him. It makes me feel good just knowing there is someone like this.
    Well said. This is definitely a true feel good story.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  4. #4
    Hang 'Em High jetguy5150's Avatar
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    Great story! When you read something like that you realize that it really isn't that hard for the rest of us to throw a new toy or two into the Christmas toy drives for under-privileged kids or to donate some food to the food drives.
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  5. #5
    Baluchitherium hatchetforce's Avatar
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    11.27.15 @ 03:34 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetguy5150 View Post
    Great story! When you read something like that you realize that it really isn't that hard for the rest of us to throw a new toy or two into the Christmas toy drives for under-privileged kids or to donate some food to the food drives.
    I happened to catch this on the news, very inspirational.

    I remember many moons ago, when I was president of the art club in high school, we delivered grocery bags with turkeys and fixins to people. The families wept when they said thank you. A little kid ran out the porch and jumped up and gave me a hug.

    . . . . .
    "The eagle lands at midnight: bacon burger ice cube over" ~ jetguy5150

  6. #6
    Hang 'Em High jetguy5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hatchetforce View Post
    I happened to catch this on the news, very inspirational.

    I remember many moons ago, when I was president of the art club in high school, we delivered grocery bags with turkeys and fixins to people. The families wept when they said thank you. A little kid ran out the porch and jumped up and gave me a hug.

    It's amazing isn't it? I have a very close friend who's family struggles from week to week and Christmas is pretty hard on them. But being as proud as they are they don't like the assistance from friends and family. What I do now to circumvent this issue is I send them gift certificates from one of our grocery stores every year. I send it anonymously to him and never breathe a word about it the rest of the year. That is my annual good deed and I have to tell you, it does make you feel pretty good!
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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Millionaire Secret Santa dies
    POSTED: 8:04 a.m. EST, January 13, 2007
    Story Highlights
    • Stewart revealed himself to inspire others to practice random kindness
    • Was diagnosed with cancer last April
    • Became a millionaire in television and telephone service
    • Giving began in December 1979 after being fired -- yet again -- before Chistmas

    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) -- Larry Stewart, a millionaire who became known as Secret Santa for his habit of roaming the streets each December and anonymously handing money to people, died Friday. He was 58.

    Stewart died from complications from esophageal cancer, said Jackson County Sheriff Tom Phillips, a longtime friend.

    Stewart, who spent 26 years giving a total $1.3 million, gained international attention in November when he revealed himself as Secret Santa. He was diagnosed in April with cancer and said he wanted to use his celebrity to inspire other people to take random kindness seriously.

    "That's what we're here for," Stewart said in a November interview, "to help other people out."

    Stewart, from the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, made his millions in cable television and long-distance telephone service.

    His private holiday giving started in December 1979 when he was at a drive-in restaurant nursing his wounds from having been fired. It was the second year in a row he had been fired the week before Christmas.

    "It was cold, and this carhop didn't have on a very big jacket, and I thought to myself, `I think I got it bad. She's out there in this cold making nickels and dimes,' " he said. He gave her $20 and told her to keep the change.

    After that, Stewart hit the streets each December, handing out money, often $100 bills, sometimes two and three at a time. He also gave money to community causes in Kansas City and his hometown of Bruce, Miss.

    Stewart said he offered the simple gifts of cash every year because it was something people didn't have to "beg for, get in line for, or apply for."

    Stewart gave out $100,000 between Chicago and Kansas City in December. Four Secret Santas whom Stewart "trained" gave out another $65,000.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  8. #8
    Eruption Executionor's Avatar
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    A bright light has gone out. too bad there aren't more folks out there like him. Greed sucks. All of these people with billions of numbers in a bank ought to be ashamed like it or not. Share the wealth with those more unfortunate souls. Of course, there has to be a line between this and abused long term welfare. Numbers in a bank don't do a lot of starving deprived kids any good. booyah
    "Knowing is not enough, we must apply,willing is not enough, we must do" -Goethe

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    --Somewhat me, mostly someone else, not sure who

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    RIP Secret Santa.

    This is so sad.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  10. #10
    Atomic Punk Viking's Avatar
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    Bummer. I just saw this on the computer this morning. There are way too few men like Larry Stewart in the world.
    "Viking - last to sleep, first to rise, last to leave, that's how the Nords of old rocked the house." ~ timmac in the 'Texas Linkers' thread talking about yours truly. :-)

 

 

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