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Secret Santa enlists an unusual elf to pass out thousands of dollars


A homeless man assists a wealthy anonymous businessman who hands $100 bills to strangers each Christmas

Image source: CBS News video screenshot

A wealthy businessman who travels around the country every December playing Secret Santa chose an unusual elf to help spread some Christmas cheer this year.

He enlisted Moses Elder, a homeless man from Arizona, to help him pass out $100 bills last week to those who paid him a little attention as he stood on a busy sidewalk. Secret Santa gave Elder $3,000 and instructed him to give the money away to anyone he saw fit to receive it.

"I think this will be a joyful experience for him. You know, it's a myth that the homeless just take. From my experience, the people with the least give the most of what they have," the Secret Santa said.

The mission was in addition to the anonymous Secret Santa's usual gifting.

What's the story?

Elder stood holding a cardboard sign in downtown Phoenix where he tried to engage passers-by.

Many scurried right on past him. But some, who took a moment to say "hello" and toss a few coins in his cup, they were rewarded with a crisp $100 bill for their kindness.

Danny McCoy was among those who dropped a little jingle in Elder's cup.

McCoy told CBS that he had been struggling to figure out how he would buy Christmas gifts for his children — until now.

"I'm eternally grateful for what he did," the father of seven said.

Strangers weren't the only ones who received some monetary relief.

Elder gave $400 to a man from church and $500 to a homeless mother of five.

"Remember, people appreciate you with your kind, giving heart that you take care of your kids the way you do," Elder told the woman, according to the report.

Did Elder get to keep some money?

Secret Santa didn't leave Elder out. He also received a financial gift.

"This here is a new beginning for me," he told CBS.

However, the greatest reward wasn't the money Elder explained. It was the joy he received from helping others.

"Today we changed a lot of people's lives. But I believe my life was changed the most," he said.

Elder said that giving feels so much better than receiving, even if you are homeless.

"You know, kindness is a bridge between all people and so if you're ever down, and you want to lift yourself up, go do something kind for somebody," the Secret Santa said.

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