Secret Santa, Anonymous Giving and the Woman in the Window


Last year, I experienced something quite amazing. I was waiting an unusually long time in the McDonald’s drive through lane. The person in the car in front of me said something to the employee at the first window, and didn’t appear to exchange any payment. The driver pulled forward. I thought this was a bit strange, but again, the line was congested and I really wasn’t paying too much attention to other peoples’ business. A few minutes later, it seemed odd to me that the same driver appeared to hand the person in the second window money, and drive away without receiving any food.

The line slowly proceeded, and then I reached the second window. Getting ready to receive my fries (don’t judge me; you’ve had McDonald’s fries!), I looked at the woman inside the window, and to my surprise, she was inconsolably crying. I threw a barrage of questions at the sobbing employee: “Oh my goodness! Are you okay? Did that person do something to you?” She looked at me with tears streaming down her face and said, “That man just gave me $100 and said Merry Christmas.”

Thinking and writing about it now still makes me well up inside. The woman at the window was so overwhelmed with this anonymous man’s gift of kindness. She was finally able to tell me that because of this man, she was able to buy Christmas presents for her two young children. Until that moment, she was trying to decide how to explain to her children why there were no gifts to open, or what she could wrap in a box for them to open.

It’s not About the Gift

This story may mean different things to different people. I can tell you that the man in the drive through may have experienced more joy than the woman in the window. Witnessing the impact of that gift – well, it leaves me speechless to this day. To me, giving is a profound act of kindness that demonstrates and celebrates our humanity

Whether you chose to give anonymously or by name, the Community Foundation is here to help you determine your legacy and where your gifts can truly have a profound impact on individuals and families in our community.

Call or stop by the Community Foundation. We’d love to hear your story. (218) 999-9100.


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350 NW 1st Ave, Suite E  | Grand Rapids, MN 55744  |  218-999-9100

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