While most philanthropists are, by definition, generous, they usually get repaid in part for their efforts with recognition, maybe their names attached as a sponsor or engraved on a building. That's not the case an anonymous man nicknamed "Benny" in Salem, OR. Time reports that his preferred donation comes in the form of a $100 bill hidden in packages at stores, waiting to be discovered like a Willy Wonka golden ticket.
And it's not just one or two Benjamin Franklins. We're talking over $51,000 in donations — that's the total that Salem's Statesman Journal has kept track of, at least. How do we know Benny is a he? His first donations were actually made in person, back in 2013, when he visited a number of Boy Scout candy sales and dropped a few Benjamins in the box, refusing change. Since then, the Statesman Journal began hearing stories of people finding "Benny bills" tucked into boxes of cereal, snacks, and diapers at local grocery stores and Walmart locations. One was wedged into a car with a cracked window and another was discovered in a vendor's mug at an art fair.
Many of the recipients reported using the surprise gift to pay their bills. Others decided to donate the money to charity, sometimes matching the funds with their own $100. Capi Lynn, who's been on the Benny beat of the Statesman Journal since his donation spree began, reported that this past June saw his most activity to date, with 86 bills discovered. It can't be a coincidence that he ramped up his generosity in a year when everyone could use a little pick-me-up.