Story from Dave Ramsey's website.Larry Stewart grew up in a humble setting in Bruce, Mississippi. He never knew his dad, and his mother left at a young age. Raised by his grandparents, Larry learned an important lesson from his grandmother: "You don't live well until you give well."
That lesson hit home with Larry when he was homeless and struggling to make it after losing his first job out of college. One morning, without a penny to his name, Larry visited the Dixie Diner in Houston, Mississippi.
He ordered a big breakfast, knowing he did not have the money to pay for the food. After finishing, Larry pretended that he had lost his wallet. A cook approached Larry and said, "Son, you must have dropped this," handing him a $20 bill.
Larry knew he hadn't dropped the money, but he thanked the man and left. He bought enough gas to leave town and drove west, arriving in Kansas City with $18 to his name. Overwhelmingly grateful for the cook's gift, Larry promised God that if God ever put him in a position to help others, he would do it.
Following Through On His PromiseEight years later, Larry was starting to make a little money. Two weeks before Christmas on a cold evening, he stopped by a drive-in restaurant. A waitress, without a jacket, took his order. He handed her a $20 bill and told her to keep the change. The waitress' face began to tremble and tears rolled down her cheeks. "Sir," she said, "you have no idea what this means to me."
That night, Larry remembered his promise to God years before. With $600 in the bank, he withdrew $200 and began driving around looking for people who needed help. He started handing out $5 and $10 bills all around town.
As Larry grew more and more successful in his business over the years, the $5 and $10 bills became $100 bills. For decades, Larry was known as "Secret Santa," giving away thousands of dollars every Christmas—without ever revealing his identity.
In early 2006, Larry Stewart was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Doctors gave him little chance to make it more than few months. After a local newspaper told Larry they were going to reveal his identity as Secret Santa, he decided to come out and tell his own story.
Secret Santa was finally revealed.