Secret Santas deliver smiles, $100 gift cards


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Secret Santa surprised strangers in three counties with $50,000 worth of gift cards in just one work day this week.

Two anonymous donors gave $50,000 to the sheriff’s offices in Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties.

In turn, the deputies and officers were given their assignments: not to arrest bad guys and take them to jail, but to seek out the good -- and give.

Five-hundred lucky recipients were given $100 gift cards.

The videos and pictures of families receiving the gift cards are flooding social media.

“The Sheriff’s Office would like to to give you a $100 gift card,” one man on a city bus was told.

“Let me tell you something, boy when you do it right, you do it right,” the man said.

One woman thought she was getting a speeding ticket.

“Secret Santa is going to give you a $100 gift certificate,” she was told

“What? What? You’ve got to be joking. I’m shaking. Oh my gosh!” she said.

Some people really needed the money, like one couple whose son was in surgery for his eye when Secret Santa struck.

“Would this help your day be a little bit better?” asked the officer.

“Oh my God. Oh my God. Are you serious? Can I hug you? Is that OK? Oh my God," the boy's mom said.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda said some officers called the Secret Santa assignment the best work day they've had all year.

“I got text messages from officers after they were all done, just (sharing) the feeling of fulfillment, being able to give this to someone in the area that they work at everyday,” Bujeda said.

The effort reminded officers and civilians that it’s just as good to give, as it is to receive.

“There were some people that got cards that didn’t have anywhere they were going to sleep last night,” Bujeda said. “They're using that card because they're homeless. They're going to be in a hotel. There are some people that used it because they were hungry.”

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