Benny, The $100 Tipper
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Benny, The $100 Tipper

He's given away countless anonymous hundred dollar bills, simply signed, "Benny."

Benny, The $100 Tipper
Statesman Journal

Most every summer, I spend my weekends at the local Saturday Market, playing my violin for tips. Every morning, I set out my case, rosin up my bow, and start the day with music. At the end of the day, I always come back home with stories. And believe me, I've seen some crazy things (one time, I watched a lady walk around wearing a realistic cat head the entire time I was there. Freaky.) I've come to expect the wacky and weird, but never did I ever expect to find a hundred dollar bill hanging out in my case. And get this, it wasn't the only one.

I didn't get them all at once naturally, but I've found them multiple times over the years and sometimes even multiple times in one summer.

The bills always have two things in common:

1. They're given anonymously

2. They're all signed, "Benny"

Which is fitting, isn't it, since he's giving away Benjamin Franklins?

But get this, I'm not the only one who's getting these bills. And even more amazing? Benny's been doing this for years. In the last three years alone, $51,000 dollars worth of "Benny Bills" have been reported to the Statesman Journal. But these are only the reported stories, and I received my first bill nine years ago. It makes you wonder just how long he's been at it, and just how much he's given away. At any rate, he definitely has some experience under his belt when hiding them. Benny bills have been reported found in many different places of varying boldness. In department stores, they've been found in shoe boxes, diaper packages, and jean pockets just to name a few. At festivals and really anywhere else that draws a big crowd, he's slipped these bills in stroller compartments, vendor's merchandise, and tip jars. He's even been known to slip bills through the cracked windows of parked cars, nearly getting caught once.

That being said, there seems to be two very different reactions to these hundred dollar bills.

1. Obsession

I have a friend who works in the clothes section of a local department store where a certain customer routinely comes to search each and every pair of jeans on the rack for money hidden in pockets. And every time this lady comes, employees have to come behind her and re-fold and reorganize the damage. Now I don't know this woman's story. Maybe she's having a rough time financially and could really use the cash. But I would like to say that although not many know who Benny is, I think we can all guess that his generosity is meant to brighten the days of those who find them, and help those who need it. So please, if you find one of Benny's hundred dollar bills, bear that in mind. Or at least obsess with the consideration of those around you.

2. Inspiration

The funny thing about kindness is how it seams to spread infectiously. Many have been inspired by Benny to 'pay it forward' by donating the money to charities, buying food for the homeless, or even surprising a group of thirsty hikers with cold drinks and a hot meal (you can read about some of the stories here). But even beyond that, Benny's spontaneous generosity has helped fuel aspiring musicians like me to pursue my dreams; helped exhausted mothers provide for their children, and he's given each and every one of us a reason to celebrate. Because money is worthless alone, but it can be a great catalyst for breaking the monotony and making any regular day an extraordinary one.

So I'd like to thank Benny, whoever or wherever he is. You've inspired countless people and brightened an untold amount of days, months, and years. Your generosity is really truly incredible, and I hope you continue to do what you do for many years to come.

If you've ever found a Benny, you can tell the Statesman Journal about it, and add your find to the tally!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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