updated 12/23/2009 11:44:53 AM ET 2009-12-23T16:44:53

Christmas came three days early at a Goodwill store in Maine's largest city.

An anonymous man dressed in a Santa suit handed out envelopes containing $100 each to 100 unsuspecting shoppers Tuesday evening at the store in Portland.

The surprise giveaway was similar to what a Missouri man did for years. Larry Stewart, of Kansas City, handed out $100 bills during the holidays, but remained anonymous until shortly before his death in 2007.

In Maine, people gasped when they opened the envelopes. Aurea Parker tells the Portland Press Herald she didn't think Santa existed anymore.

Jim Ward, who went to the store to shop for a pair of pants, plans to use the money to take his son out to dinner.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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