An elderly couple in Oregon found a shocking gift inside a box of corn flakes, and they're just one of many who have found similar gifts (video below).
Brittany Medina, of Salem, Oregon, opened a bottle of baby formula and found a $100 bill wrapped inside. She instantly began to cry. The incident occurred right before Christmas, and the single mother of three could now afford to buy her children presents, Oregon Live reports.
Medina is one of many who have benefited from a mysterious philanthropist who has hidden more than $50,000 in neatly tucked $100 bills in and around Salem over the last three years.
"Whoever does this for people is truly amazing," said Medina, a 23-year-old Salem resident. "He has blessed a lot of people."
According to USA Today, when reports of people finding $100 bills first surfaced, the paper referred to the mysterious benefactor as 'Benny,' in a nod to Benjamin Franklin, who appears on the $100 bill.
It's safe to assume that the philanthropist reads USA Today, because he or she has now taken to signing each bill "Benny." USA Today reports that friends of the benefactor have come forward to confirm the story. They insist that "Benny" wishes to remain anonymous.
So far "Benny" has left $100 bills in 26 different stores, at eight different events, and in a handful of different neighborhoods around the Salem area.
Those who find one all have a similar tale, about being shocked when a $100 bill falls out of the packaging of something they just purchased. Bills have been found in everything from breakfast cereals to frozen entrees, and from mouse traps to feminine hygiene products. Sometimes they are not discovered until days or weeks later when the recipient is retrieving something out of the pantry or cabinet.
The money has gone to help people pay their electric bills, make rent, buy prescription medication, and even provide shelter for the homeless. But the real magic of "Benny" has been the pay-it-forward spirit he or she has inspired in the community.
Slightly more than half of those who find a $100 bill report paying it forward, whether it be to their favorite non-profit or a stranger in need. Some of the most heartwarming stories involve children. Instead of going on a toy shopping spree, they decide to buy school supplies for their classmates or groceries for the local food bank.
If you're lucky enough to find one of the bills, Salem residents will say you've been "Benny-ed." Non-profits and causes are said to be "Benny-fitting," or "Benny-ficiaries."