Secret Santa recruits Milwaukee bus drivers to give out thousands of dollars to passengers

Secret Santa recruits bus drivers

Milwaukee — For passengers getting on the bus in Milwaukee recently, it felt like boarding a bus to crazy town.

"I said what? This is a dream or something," one passenger said.

But it wasn't a dream. The drivers were real elves working for the real Secret Santa. Secret Santa is an anonymous, wealthy businessman who every year travels the country giving out $100, $200, sometimes $300 to random strangers. He usually finds his targets in thrift stores.

But this year, Secret Santa recruited some elves from the Milwaukee County Transit System to do at least some of his giving. He chose the Milwaukee drivers because they're always doing kind deeds, whether it's stopping the bus to fetch a pair of lost children's shoes, helping a turtle cross the street or rescuing a child out wandering alone. 

There is a real culture of kindness, which Secret Santa said makes them the perfect accomplice.

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Every year, Secret Santa surprises strangers with money. CBS News

"We're going to be on the biggest sleigh we've ever had. And the magic is going to be like gold dust flying across the city," Secret Santa said.

For the rest of the day, five different drivers gave out thousands of dollars worth of hundred dollar bills. No doubt the money was appreciated. 

But, as always, this was about so much more than money. What overwhelmed most people was the unconditional kindness. The drivers said it affected them almost as much as their passengers.

"It was a great experience. It's going to stick with me the rest of my life," one driver said.

"If you ever feel down, if you ever feel a little depressed, and you want to solve your problem, go out and do something kind for somebody – because when you do that, you're uplifting yourself," Secret Santa said.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.  

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Secret Santa recruited Milwaukee bus drivers to give out money to passengers. CBS News
  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.