January 15, 2007, - 11:56 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Recently, I wrote about Larry Stewart, the Secret Santa who, for years, anonymously handed over $1.3 million to the poor and homeless all over America. USA Today’s Nancy Hellmich did a series of articles on Stewart.
He never wanted to be known, but outed himself around Christmas because a tabloid was about to do so. Sadly, it was Stewart’s last Christmas on earth. He died of esophageal cancer at age 58 on Friday.
Stewart was the embodiment of everything great about America. He, too, was once one of those down-and-out-on-his-luck people. But a diner owner, Ted Horn, was kind to him, handing him a $20 to cover a meal, pretending to find it on the floor, and suggesting that Stewart had dropped it. Stewart promised G-d he’d repay the favor. He became a successful businessman and a millionaire, with his own long-distance phone company.
In 1979, he began by giving a big tip to a poor carhop at a hamburger drive-in. He felt so good by giving to her, he want to the bank, got more cash, and gave it out. While he sometimes worked with social service bureaucracies, he usually did it the direct way–handing money to those he saw on the street, in diners, pawn shops, and fast food places.
Ted Horn, the man who originally gave him the $20 to cover breakfast at the Dixie Diner in Tupelo, Mississippi, said of Stewart:
I think he was an angel. The Lord needed another angel, so he called Larry home.
Tags: America, Angel Among, Angel Among Us Goes, bank, businessman, Christmas, Debbie Schlussel Recently, esophageal cancer, food places, Larry Stewart, Mississippi, Nancy Hellmich, owner, Ted Horn, Tupelo, USA Today, USD