Tens of thousands of people were hunting for free cash across the Bay Area Wednesday, as the anonymous donor, known only by the Twitter handle @HiddenCash, continued to hide envelopes full of money around San Francisco, Oakland, and most recently, in the @nbcbayarea parking lot.
The mystery man launched his scavenger hunt on Twitter last Friday and has since amassed some 166,000 followers, tweeting clues and photos of his envelopes taped to park benches, fire hydrants, and parking meters.
Miles Tokatz was following @HiddenCash on Monday when he solved one of the riddles. "The clue was, 'Tony Hawk would love this place,' so obviously it's 'The Ramp,'" Tokatz said, referencing a bar in San Francisco.
The excitement is palpable. When Tokatz found the envelope and pulled it out from under the bar, he said several people around him immediately lit up with excitement and asked if it was the hidden cash they had heard about.
"I can totally see why this would be awesome for somebody to do -- getting people out of their houses and engaging people in something," Tokatz said. "I'm sure right now there's people glued to their phones like, 'Alright, when is he going to strike next?'"
Brian Seward found his envelope at Pier 39 taped beneath the blue hand railing. Inside the envelope was $100 in cash. "It's made my week. It's only Tuesday, but it's made my week," Seward said.
Little is known about the donor's identity except for what he's revealed to reporters via email -- that he's between 35 and 45 years old, and that he made his money investing in real estate. He calls the scavenger hunt a social experiment, and says he hopes people will take the money and pay it forward.
"If you had a windfall, this seems like a really great way to give people something to be excited about," Seward said. "I'm going to spend it on food and drink for my coworkers."
With nearly $6,000 collected so far, @HiddenCash says he plans to give away upwards of $1,000 a day for the foreseeable future. Next stop will be Los Angeles, this weekend, and New York soon after.
“I wish all millionaires followed @HiddenCash 's lead," tweeted @brenda81162. "This IS the very meaning of paying it forward.”
First published May 28 2014, 1:57 PM