Free money has never come this easy: Alexzandra Etherton found $68 in an envelope taped to a parking meter. Matthew Burkert found his stash hidden under a bulldozer. And Forrest Hanson nabbed $100 on San Francisco’s Baker Beach on Memorial Day, then paid it forward by giving it away to other passersby.
Since last Thursday, an anonymous twitter user known only as @HiddenCash has been giving away thousands of dollars in the city by the Bay to the delight of the dozens of people who followed HiddenCash’s clues on Twitter and found the coveted white envelopes. The hints aren’t terribly subtle — one that said the money was at a bar that Tony Hawk would love directed hunters to “The Ramp” (duh!) — and because there are so many people on the lookout, the prizes have been getting snapped up within minutes.
Nobody knows exactly who HiddenCash is, but the anonymous philanthropist tells TIME in an email, “I have made my fortune in real estate, and have been able to accumulate multiple properties, whereas so many people can’t afford to buy a house or even a small condo in San Francisco. People who work just as hard or harder than me. So I wanted to give back … But I also wanted to do something that would give back in a fun way, and get people involved.”
“My message for the ‘haves’ is to be a little more generous, and to give back more,” HiddenCash adds. “I know so many wealthy people who are selfish and greedy, and just want more, more, more. When is it enough? When will you be satisfied? Take a step back, relax, and give back a bit. Putting smiles on other people’s faces will put a smile on your face. Believe me.”
HiddenCash’s advice for the rest of us is a bit more sobering, however: “If you are broke and struggling, please don’t look to @hiddencash or a lottery ticket to be your salvation … Relying on games of chance is probably the worst and least responsible thing you can do.”
With more than 50,000 followers amassed in less than a week, now HiddenCash says it will go nationwide and tells TIME the plan is to give away a total of six figures. A new drop is promised in San Jose on Wednesday and its first in Los Angeles is slated for this weekend. Get ready for the stampede.
— Richard Rodriguez (@pharoahwizard) May 25, 2014