Anonymous Donor Gives Kids at Goodwill an Early Christmas Surprise

Last Saturday at her local Goodwill store, six-year-old Tarryn Henkelman reached into a giant blue bin filled with free toys and pulled out a folded-up scooter. Her face glowed with happiness. It was just what she wanted and perfect timing, too, as her old scooter had recently broken and it was too expensive to repair or buy a new one.

Tarryn was one of hundreds of children who celebrated Christmas a little early this year, when Jolly Old Saint Nicholas made a visit last week to the Goodwill store in Fort Collins, Colorado. Not the real Santa, but a man (who wishes to stay anonymous) with a good heart nonetheless. This is the tenth year in a row the holiday-spirited philanthropist bought out the entire children’s section of the store, to ensure that each and every child who walks through its doors can take a treat home for free.

Before the store opened last weekend, the donor wrote a check to cover the costs for the store’s entire inventory of children’s books, stuffed animals and toys. Throughout the store’s hours of operation, the voice of the Senior Director of Retail, Todd Wakefield, could be heard over the intercom, announcing the good news to the delighted children of the shopping families: “All kids today, all day long, you get one free toy, stuffed animal or free kids book!”

According to The Coloradoan, the altruistic man and his wife briefly stayed at the store to watch some of the children’s gleeful reactions before “slipping out the front door, unnoticed.” The man says of his charitable gift that he doesn’t need recognition; he just wants to give back to his community. Writing this check to the local Goodwill store has become “an important part of the Christmas tradition” for the anonymous donor’s family.

Todd Wakefield said of the man’s generous actions, “We’ve got some amazing people throughout our community. This is what our business is run on, people willing to give and to help their community.”

This is just one example of people around the country who annually spread holiday love and cheer to unsuspecting strangers.

Each year in Pittsburgh, a businessman who goes by “Secret Santa,” gives away $100,000 worth of $100 bills to passersby. Those on the receiving end often break down into tears of gratitude. The amazing thing is that it often is not the money that provokes the emotions—it’s the touch of kindness from one human to another.

In 2015, a woman named Mildred Morris received a hundred dollars from a man she did not know while shopping at a Shop’n Save. He was dressed in a red hat and jacket. He introduced himself as Secret Santa, handed her the bills and said, “Now this is for you.”

Morris explained to CBS: “I just came from chemo. And I work every day, sir.” She continued to say that a million dollars, let alone $100, couldn’t have changed the constant pain and sorrow of suffering from stage 4 breast cancer. And yet there she was, overjoyed by this random act of human kindness. “It’s just amazing that there’s so much compassion out here with all this other stuff that’s going on,” she said.

“Kindness is the bridge between all people. Kindness is the one thing that cuts through everything regardless of your station in life.” Words of wisdom from Secret Santa himself.

Tell us – how do you plan on showing kindness this holiday season?

Cover photo: Valerie Osier.