By Amy Hawley
INDEPENDENCE, Mo (KSHB/CNN) - Christmas came early for some needy families.
Continuing a yearly tradition, a Secret Santa anonymously gave away thousands of dollars to unsuspecting people.
Of all the gifts you'll receive this year, will any of them get this kind of reaction?
Tears of surprise and joy were how people responded to a Secret Santa. The anonymous Kansas City businessman is back, handing out crisp $100 bills to unsuspecting strangers.
Some of the people he hands the money to have been sought out because of their enormous need.
"That's $400 Secret Santa dollars and I hope it makes your Christmas just a little bit better, okay," said the man.
It's the first time, some say, they've smiled in a while. Only the law enforcement officers who travel with him and help him know exactly who he is.
Mostly, he sets out searching for someone going about their day. He walks by some, and knows just when to stop for others.
One lady he surprised was now able to afford an outfit for her first day of work.
And a mother can now afford to bring her son back home for the holidays.
This Secret Santa picked up where his friend, the original covert Secret Santa, Larry Stewart, left off. He's continued Stewart's legacy since 2007 after he suddenly died.
So far this year he has given out $100,000. While the money helps bring a smile to most people because they can now pay bills or put gifts under the tree, there are others who have life stories that shock and sear into his heart.
A lady named Dana told him that her oldest daughter, 22-year-old Eastyn Roberts is about to die of stage 4 stomach cancer and will leave behind a 19-month-old. On top of that, she told the Secret Santa she is admitting her third child to Children's Mercy Hospital, also for stomach cancer.
Secret Santa's gift is large, $1,000.
"Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much," said Dana.
She says this money will go to the unthinkable for a parent.
"It will help pay for my daughter's funeral, a lot of things," said Dana.
But in her grief, she says Secret Santa's gift let her see a little hope again.
"I would encourage everybody to give themselves a gift this Christmas and that's to do random acts of kindness for somebody else because you'll get more back than what you give," she said.