Larry Stewart died a very rich man. Yes, he was a millionaire, but his true riches were in his heart and in his deeds. He lost his battle with esophageal cancer last week. But, everyone who came in contact with him was richer for it. Richer for his Acts of Kindness.
He was the 'Secret Santa' who would hand out money each December to those he thought might need it. Over 26 years, he gave away $1.6 million dollars in $100. bills.
Thirty five years ago, down on his luck, homeless and cold, Larry Stewart walked into the Dixie Diner in Houston, Mississippi. He had planned to eat and then 'discover' he had lost his wallet and had no money. But, the owner of the diner, Ted Horn, walked by, reached down to the ground and handed Stewart $20, telling him he was sure he had dropped it. That single act of kindness changed Stewart's life. "By the grace of God, I came face to face with one of His Angels. I said a prayer of thanks and vowed that if I was ever in a position to help others I will do it, and in that way help people keep their dignity.
In December of 1979, he was at a drive-in restaurant feeling badly that he had just been fired - the second December in a row. The car hop that was waiting on him had on a light jacket in the cold of winter and he thought, "I think I got it bad. She's out there in this cold making nickels and dimes,'" he said. He gave her $20 and told her to keep the change.
Larry Stewart became a millionaire in cable television and long distance telephone services. Each December, he gave people in need money. No one ever knew who the Secret Santa was, and he only revealed his identity because he hoped it would inspire others to be generous. "That's what we are here for, to help other people out," Stewart said.
To learn more about Larry Stewart and his AKO's - Acts of Kindness - visit his website.