By Jeremy | November 19, 2006
Paging Matt Stevens. There’s something to this random acts of kindness thing.
After giving away $1.3 million in Christmas cash over the last 26 years, the man known as Secret Santa plans to give away $100,000 in what doctors are saying will be his final holiday season.
But the reason for the revelation is an unhappy one. Secret Santa has cancer. He wants to start speaking to community groups about his belief in random acts of kindness, but he can’t do that without telling people who he is….
Now, he wants to inspire others to do the same. He said he thinks that people should know that he was born poor, was briefly homeless, dropped out of college, has been fired from jobs, and once even considered robbery.
But he said every time he hit a low point in his life, someone gave him money, food and hope, and that’s why he has devoted his life to returning the favors.
Stewart grew up in Bruce, Miss., reared by his elderly grandparents, who survived on $33 a month and welfare staples. They heated water on the stove for baths and used an outhouse.
After he left home and college, he found himself out of work in 1971. After sleeping in his car for eight nights and not eating for two days, Stewart went to the Dixie Diner in Houston, Miss., and ordered breakfast. When the bill came, he acted as if he’d lost his wallet.
The diner owner came to him.
“You must have dropped this,” the owner said, slipping a $20 bill into the young man’s hand.
He paid, pushed his car to the gas station, and left town. But he vowed to remember the stranger’s kindness, and to help others, when he could. Article.