Think of it as a lucrative scavenger hunt–with a Benjamin Franklin as the prize. That’s what has been going on for the past three years, thanks to a mysterious benefactor now known as Benny. To date, he’s given away $50,000. Last month’s total amount was over $8,000. Now wonder people are flipping out (in a good way of course). Who doesn’t want to follow this money!
Benny likes to leave the bills in well-traveled places, like stores (26 so far, including Walmart), festivals, and events. People have found the bills in cereal boxes, frozen food entrees, even household items like mousetraps! Benny has dropped the bills–folded in fours and signed “Benny”–onto strollers and cars.
But it’s what these bills have inspired too. About half the people who find the $100 really need the money to pay everything from utility bills to prescription meds, even a few nights at a motel for one homeless couple. The other half have been moved to give away the found money to those in need, be it strangers or their favorite charities. Even kids who find the money have used it to spread kindness by buying school supplies for their class or doing another good deed.
So will one of us be the lucky recipient of this mystery money? Not unless we move to Salem, OR, or the surrounding towns. That’s where Benny is spreading his wealth–and inspiring others to pay it forward, $100 at a time.
You can watch the magic in this USA Today video.
NEXT: Everyone Ignored This Freezing, Hungry Homeless Boy on the Street, Until the Last Person You’d Expect Stopped to Change His Life