One week ago tonight, on May 22, 2014, after a late dinner with a friend in San Francisco, I was telling him about my desire to give back to the community which I love and has given me so much, and to do it in a fun way. We rejected a few ideas I had as too complex, and decided that I would hide money in a few spots in San Francisco, and then tweet about it. We created the Twitter handle @hiddencash, and did just that, hiding envelopes of cash around midnight in SF, and tweeting clues. I contacted a local blog to tell them what we did. They asked me a few questions, and wrote about it, and it exploded from there.
What was originally meant to be a pay-it-forward scavenger hunt for San Francisco, has become much bigger than San Francisco and more than a scavenger hunt. The worldwide interest that has been spawned is tremendous, and though personally surprising, in some ways it is understandable.
I think we may have struck a chord with people for a few reasons:
1. Everyone likes free cash :)
2. Many people enjoy a real world scavenger hunt.
3. Many people who don't go on the hunt themselves, enjoy following the excitement and positive stories of people participating and so often paying it forward.
4. In many ways, we have become alienated from each other, and perhaps this is a fun way for people to come together.
We would like to keep this movement going, and we thank you for your support keeping it safe and positive.
There have been large crowds lately. Please walk and drive safely. A young woman ran right in front of my car a few days ago. I will do my best to pick locations that are safe, but please use common sense and caution. Please also be respectful to the locations themselves and surrounding businesses. And be kind and happy with each other, as that's what this is all about.
I have been overwhelmed with the hundreds of emails asking for financial assistance. I like to help people, and do volunteer my time and donate to charities - however I'm sorry I can not read or respond to all of these personal requests, and that is not what the purpose of this account is. I am also doing a media blackout on all interviews in any form for the next couple weeks.
The growth of @hiddencash has been phenomenal and overwhelming. We will take time in the next several weeks to figure out how to best move forward in a way that keeps @hiddencash fun and safe - as well as logistics for the big announcement we've mentioned previously (don't worry, you'll like this).
There really is no agenda here - not political, not business, not religious - other than bringing people together in a positive way and bringing a smile to people's faces. And, in some cases, happy tears, like the teenage girl tonight who is sending the money she found to her sick grandmother in Mexico. I am so happy that my money is going to help deserving people like this. There will always be cynics and skeptics, especially as a movement grows, but it is truly my intention to give back and make people happy. This is not a promotion for a business. We want to encourage people to be kind, to be generous, and to pay it forward. For those who started similar movements in other cities and countries around the world, we salute you.