13 Stories

Anonymous Donor Covers Entire Complex's Rent

That's a 38-unit, $25K tab

(Newser) - The days before Christmas are typically replete with stories of extreme generosity—like those annual tales of huge Salvation Army kettle donations —but as for what happened in Newpark, Utah, well, "I have never seen anything of this magnitude in the 10 years that I have been doing... More »

Huge Check in Kettle Stuns Salvation Army

Half a million dollars

(Newser) - An anonymous couple in Minneapolis just raised the bar in a big way for all those dropping spare change into Salvation Army kettles. They quietly dropped in a check for $500,000 outside a Cub Foods store, reports the Pioneer Press . "The check did clear and was deposited in... More »

Chick-fil-A Owner Pays Staff During 5-Month Remodel

Jeff Glover even gave his 50 employees raises for hanging around

(Newser) - A popular Chick-fil-A in northwest Austin reopened Wednesday after a five-month renovation that doubled its footprint, making it the largest in the Austin area at 5,700 square feet. But that isn't what's making headlines. Franchise owner Jeff Glover, who's run the restaurant for 15 years, has... More »

Dead Diner Leaves Waitresses a Wild Tip

Robert 'King of Ming' Ellsworth hands the 2 Maureens $50K apiece

(Newser) - When famed art collector Robert "King of Ming" Ellsworth passed away last August, the 85-year-old was said to have been worth an estimated $200 million; now, two employees of his favorite NYC restaurant have something big to remember him by: $50,000 each. That's what Ellsworth, a decades-long... More »

Mystery Donor Handing Out $100 Bills in Massachusetts

Fast-food workers get a Christmas surprise

(Newser) - What seems to have become an annual tradition is unfolding in Hyannis, Massachusetts: An anonymous man has been visiting fast-food shops and handing over $100 to each employee, reports the Boston Globe . He's an older guy with the same approach: He asks the manager how many people work there,... More »

2 Utah Bars See $5K, $1K Tips

Big spender may also have left 3rd huge tip

(Newser) - If you thought $500 tips sounded pretty incredible, check this out: Last weekend, someone left a $5,000 tip at a bar in Ogden, Utah; another nearby bar saw a $1,000 tip. It's assumed, but not confirmed, that the same person left both tips, and there may have... More »

Guy Travels Country Giving Out $500 Tips

Seth Collins' quest is tribute to late brother

(Newser) - When Aaron Collins died a year ago, the 30-year-old's will ended with an unusual request. "The last thing in it was that we go out to dinner and leave an awesome tip," brother Seth explains to NPR . "And he said, 'I'm not talking about... More »

US First in Charity Index

World generosity rising overall, despite recession

(Newser) - Pat yourself on the back America; you’re the most giving nation in the world, at least according to the Charities Aid Foundation. The US jumped from fifth place to first in the second annual World Giving Index (pdf here ), with an all-time-high 60% rating. The score is based... More »

Thoughtful, Pricey Gifts Are a Waste of Time

For recipients, it just doesn't matter, say researchers

(Newser) - Are you the kind of person who spends hours fretting over the perfect holiday gift? Or who tries to impress by spending big? Don't bother, because it's not helping your cause, writes John Tierney in the New York Times . In fact, price matters a lot more to the... More »

Secret Santas Wipe Away Strangers' Layaway Debts

Anonymous donors clearing accounts at Kmarts, Walmarts

(Newser) - A nice fad this holiday season: Secret Santas are going around to Kmarts and Walmarts and paying off the layaway accounts of random strangers. It's happening all over, including stores in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, South Carolina, and Montana. The AP , NPR and Time round up examples of the... More »

Nature Makes You Nicer

People more focused on others when primed with natural imagery, research shows

(Newser) - Being around the natural world or representations of it makes you a better person, Miller-McCune reports. A study finds that people shown slides of natural landscapes rated community-oriented goals—such as “to work for the betterment of society”—as more important to them than self-oriented goals—for example,... More »

Violinist to Serenade Taxi Driver

Concert at Newark airport for cabbie who returned $4M Strad

(Newser) - When violin virtuoso Philippe Quint left a 1723 Antonio Stradivari “Ex-Kiesewetter” in a New Jersey taxi two weeks ago, he was distraught: The $4 million instrument was not only irreplaceable, it was on loan. But the cab driver returned the violin next morning, and today, in gratitude, the Grammy-nominated... More »

Altruism Linked to Gene

People with active AVPR1a gene more likely to give away money in study

(Newser) - Researchers have identified a gene that may influence altruism, reports the BBC. Test subjects who had the choice of keeping money or giving it away were 50% more likely to give it away if they had a more active version of the gene AVPR1a. The gene is linked to arginine... More »

13 Stories