It’s a feel-good, buzzworthy story that drew the attention of thousands in San Francisco, as well as the national media — thousands of dollars hidden throughout the city for people to find in a “fun” scavenger hunt-style game. But the millionaire Real Estate developer who’s behind the game has a message to others in his industry that’s not quite as fun.
“I'm sorry to say, but this is a very selfish industry. Most people I know in Real Estate are greedy and selfish,” said the anonymous donor who goes by @HiddenCash and has declined all offers to take credit for his good deeds. “If you have been fortunate to make a lot of money in Real Estate, as I have, please help others who are less fortunate. Step out of your bubble for a minute. You will not only do good, you will feel good about it.”
The only thing that the anonymous @HiddenCash has revealed about himself is that he’s between 35 and 45 years old and is a Real Estate investor and developer. He recently made about $500,000 in profit on a Real Estate deal. We also know that he’s been mentioned in the media before, but that his comments were portrayed poorly enough for him to not want to come forward now.
“I buy, sell, build and remodel residential Real Estate in the Bay Area,” he said.
Beginning last weekend, @HiddenCash and several friends began hiding $20-, $50- and $100-bills in several San Francisco neighborhoods. Sometimes the cash was in plain sight; sometimes in envelopes tucked behind street lamps, and even inside an album sleeve at Amoeba Records. On Twitter, his followers increased from a handful to more nearly 132,000 on Wednesday morning. Clearly, the social scavenger hunt has captivated the city. Wednesday, he was rumoured to be in San Jose. And he’s about to go national.
Next weekend he will be in Los Angeles on a business trip. Expect more cash down south. And after that, how much of the $500,000 is going to be given away?
“I’m planning to expand to New York and other cities in a few weeks,” he said. “I haven't put a hard number on (how much will be given away). I plan to continue leaving money for the foreseeable future.
But make one thing clear — this experiment, as @HiddenCash calls it, is not charity (although he does give money to charities). While most people would celebrate such a windfall with a big purchase, but sticking the money in the bank, or a more charitable contribution, he decided to have some fun instead.
“Who said I'm not doing those things too? I just decided to take a relatively small percentage of my money and give it away, to charities and by doing this,” he said. “I thought this would be a fun way to give people money and, more importantly, something to smile about. From the reactions, it seems to be working.
@HiddenCash said he hopes the people who find money find a way to “pay it forward” and help others in the future. “Those who can afford to should give back,” he said. “If they can do it in a fun way like this, all the better.”