After mystery cash donor takes a breather, others join the fun

The mysterious donor who caused a sensation after tweeting the locations of cash-filled envelopes is taking a break.

The man, known only to the public through his @HiddenCash Twitter account, apparently didn't realize the hubbub he had created as treasure hunters swarmed the locations he mentioned on Twitter.

As it turns out, when someone plants cash somewhere and tweets about it, hundreds of people will drop everything to find it. That's exactly what happened in Burbank, Calif., last Thursday as people parked illegally and ran through traffic to find the money. People eventually found three envelopes containing $135, $210 and $200.

"They almost destroyed the bus stop," one 17-year-old watching the frenzy told The Daily News. "Destroying my ear drums. Oh my God, it's intense."

The man behind @HiddenCash, who is reportedly from California's Bay Area, recently made about $500,000 in a real estate deal and wanted to share the money, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. On Saturday, he filled 36 "Angry Bird" toys with cash and hid them around Hermosa Beach, Calif.

"It's pandemonium here in Hermosa," wrote one person on Twitter a few hours later. Some of the birds had more than $100 in them.

In a recent online post, the mystery donor said he originally wanted to create a "pay-it-forward" scavenger hunt in San Francisco. "The worldwide interest that has been spawned is tremendous, and though personally surprising, in some ways it is understandable," he wrote.

The man said that he's going to take a few weeks to "figure out how to best move forward in a way that keeps @hiddencash fun and safe." He said that he has no political or business agenda, but instead wants to bring a smile to people's faces.

So while @HiddenCash takes time off to regroup, his hopes of acting as an inspiration to others seem to be gaining traction. In Arizona, a father-daughter team is leaving much smaller amounts -- $10 in some cases -- in envelopes in the town of Maricopa. The man behind the account says his family isn't rich, but likes to see people smile, CBSNews reports.

Twitter users in other cities also are reporting some "Hidden Cash" knockoffs. In Dallas, a woman told NBC she planned to hide $20 to $40 in each of 10 envelopes for a treasure hunt Monday evening. The woman, named Stacey Monroe, was not affiliated with the original @HiddenCash account, but named her Twitter account @HiddenCashDFW.

In Chicago, a man donating clothes at a street-side box found $40 recently, and a woman found $60 in an envelope near a statue. Both said they used some of the money to buy coffee for others.

"I think when good things happen, you tend to have a more positive outlook," the woman, Tina Gaddy, told ABC Monday. Other copycats have given away money in Toronto, Vancouver and Chicago.

And what does the original @HiddenCash think of the trend? "If you are going to copy our idea, great, as long as you do it responsibly and for the right reasons," he wrote on Twitter Monday.

  • Kim Peterson

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