"Secret Santas" Strike Again

Each year at this time, Steve Hartman tells us about people who need a little Christmas, right this very minute, who suddenly find an angel.

For 84-year-old Maggie Adams, Christmas is usually just another cold, winter day. A widow on a fixed income, Maggie struggles just to keep kerosene in the boiler.

"I don't have money to 'em for it," she said.

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That was her big worry on this day. The day Maggie Adams just happened to drop by a local thrift store - where she just happened upon a stranger in a red hat - who just happened to be just the angels Maggie needed.

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"We're Secret Santas," said the person in the red hat. "We wanted to give you a gift."

What happened to Maggie is actually happening to thousands of people across the country this holiday season.

In Charlotte, Detroit, and, if you're lucky a town near you - athere are reports of these red-capped Santa's going up to people and just handing them a hundred dollar bills. The Santas insist on anonymity -- but they're part of a growing network of wealthy business people, CEO's mostly, who together plan to hand out about $300,000 this year -- because they all share the same crazy notion: to make the world a better place.

The Santas do their best to find those most in need. They target thrift stores, restaurant kitchens, city buses.

Everyone gets a hundred dollars - at least.

Maggie got enough to warm her heart - and then some. She ordered 100 gallons of kerosene.

It sure sounds like this Christmas is going to be anything but, just another cold, winter day.

"It's about one of the most wonderful things that could have happened," Maggie said.

  • Steve Hartman

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