Dickie – Quickie

We’ve been swapping Christmas stories. (To find out what this is all about, go to www.dicksummer.com/podcast/latest ) Here’s one of mine:

This is a Christmas story that only goes back to 1971. And it might have been over in 2006. But it was too good for some folks who heard about it to let that happen. It was Christmas Eve, 1971, and a young guy by the name of Larry Stewart was down on his luck. He was homeless, out of work, and out of money. He hadn’t eaten in a couple of days, when he walked into a diner, and ordered a big meal. When the bill came, he said he’d just lost his wallet. When the owner walked over to the cash register, he figured he was going to have a problem. But instead, the owner slipped a $20 bill into his hand and said, “You must have dropped this.” Larry never forgot that.

 Fast forward to Kansas City Missouri, Christmas, 1981. Over the holidays, a mysterious stranger dressed up like Santa Claus started showing up in bus stations, thrift stores, Laundromats and skid run hotels, handing out $100 bills to people down on their luck. He just slipped the bills into their hands, said “Merry Christmas,” and walked away into the night before people even had a chance to understand what was going on.

 He did that for 26 years. Then in 2006, that Secret Santa who had never revealed his name let a tv reporter catch up with him, and his story got on the air. It was Larry Stewart…the young kid who needed a break…and got it in that diner all those years ago. He had become a successful business man. And every Christmas Eve, he played Secret Santa. He had given away more than $1.3 million dollars to needy people all over the United States since he started.

 It’s a great story, and a true one. And you may wonder why after all those years of being a Secret Santa…giving money away anonymously, Larry Stewart let the tv reporter tell his story in 2006. And here’s the answer. Larry got cancer. He knew he only had a few months to live. He was hoping some other folks would pick up where he left off.

 Larry died the next April. But in the last couple of years…since Larry’s story got on the air…Secret Santas have been spotted giving away $100 bills all over the country, just the way Larry did it. They dress up like Santa Claus, go to some places where Santa might not otherwise make a landing in his sleigh, slip some money into some very surprised hands…wish a quick Merry Christmas, and then quickly disappear into the night. Just like Larry.

 It’s a real Christmas story. It only goes back to 1971, so it’s not very old as Christmas stories go. But it is a true one. And I guess some folks just feel it’s simply too good to let it end. And I agree.

I’d love to add your Christmas story either here or on the podcast. Please send it to: Dick@DickSummer.com  And Merry Christmas.     

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