Giving with no strings attached and no expectation of acknowledgement has to be the sweetest form of charity. And when times are hard, many donors find that giving directly to a person who doesn't anticipate it provides even more gratification.
Three Michigan shoppers were surprised to find that their Kmart layaway bills had been nearly paid off by a secret Santa. According to an article in The Consumerist, a Kmart employee reported that a woman came to the layaway desk and asked if she could randomly pay a chunk of some of the outstanding balances. Her only stipulation was that it be a bill that included toys. She chose three out of the 800 layaway bills and paid a total of $500, leaving a balance of $10 on each of the three bills. Her scribbled note on the receipt read, "Happy holidays from a friend."
One of the beneficiaries, who initially thought it was a joke, said, "I thank her. It's the best gift that I ever received, and it's the gift of believing in people ... And believing that there's good out there, 'cause you don't always see that."
There are many ways to give to charity, and it's not unusual for the wealthy to donate anonymously, knowing that the gift is what matters. The satisfaction of using their money to help others is thanks enough for them.
Do you have a story of unexpected financial kindness shown by a secret Santa?
Keep up with your wealth and mortgages and follow me on Twitter.
Get more news, money-saving tips and expert advice by signing up for a free Bankrate newsletter.