Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Where are the Hidden Cash paying-it-forward stories?

HIDDEN CASHPeople are still talking about the Hidden Cash frenzy from earlier this week when Fresnans came out en masse to scour two parks for hidden envelopes containing nearly $1,900. The money hidden by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur ranged from silver dollars to $175 inside Pez dispensers. Each cache carried a message asking the finders to tweet their photos and encouraged them to “pay it forward.”

Now that it’s been a few days, where are the pay-it-forward stories? My colleague Tim Sheehan, who covered the event, said he’s seen tweets from other cities of people at Starbucks buying coffee for the people in line behind them. Have you heard of any Fresno paying-it-forward stories stemming from Hidden Cash? Of course, the amounts in some of these finds were a tad small — there’s not a lot you can do with a silver dollar (not criticizing the founder’s choice, just pointing out reality). If you’ve seen any tweets or other tales, send ‘em my way. Make a comment below or email me at

Of course, this brings up the whole topic of Fresno and its poverty. With 10.5% unemployment and a median household income of $42,276, perhaps some of those folks searching Woodward Park needed the money. (And can you blame those folks for not paying it forward?) The man behind Hidden Cash tweeted today about how “enthusiastic” Central Valley folks are and I hope it was a sense of fun — and not desperation — that caused such a big turnout.

Responses to "Where are the Hidden Cash paying-it-forward stories?"

Bruce Armstrong says:

I’d like to know the costs of this Hidden Cash silliness to the city – police time, traffic, damage to Woodward Park (if any).

Jeffrey Whitaker says:

Im sure theirs gona b a lot of negative comments about the hidden cash thing as it relates to Fresnans. Everybody has their opinions pro and con. Mine just happens to b con. I don’t think it had anything at all to do with “community spirit”. Im a nurse at the FHSH and a bunch of RNS were late for work bcuz of the log jam. Fender benders, people parking in the 3rd lane on Friant n Perrin. Adults AND kids running across the street? Yea, i hate to c what would have happened if their was 1000 dollars in each envelope…pandemonium. I wish the entrapeneuer would have come out and said “this was just an experiment to c how society acts when they are faced with the possibility of getting something for nothing”. We all sewn the post on FB “wish these people would run out and find a job as quickly as their runnin out to the park to find free money”, that just tells u the attitude of many people n this town. I myself don’t take that stance. Sounds like it was all n good fun and the money man doesn’t mean any malice by it. So whatever, if people find it fun to do that and theirs a good message behind it, just do it.

Steve L says:

I’m sure it’s FAR less than the cost of flying that police helicopter, or the cost of the rich waging war on the poor.

Sammy B says:

Even when it was going on, you just knew that nobody from Fresno was going to pay anything forward. This is a town of greedy, selfish, clueless people. Certainly there are a lot of compassionate, generous people here that do everything they can on a regular basis – without being told by a benefactor – to help those less fortunate and contribute to our society; however, on any given day you can go shopping or to a restaurant or to a public event and see the pushy, selfish, inconsiderate masses that will just as soon knock you down and walk over your body to get to a (fill in the blank) before you do. Sharing good fortune is a concept in which these people (the kind that show up to an event like this) haven’t a clue. I’d bet the majority of the folks at Woodward Park were not poor and didn’t need that money for any essentials. It was like a Black Friday, but luckily no one got hurt. I just hope the park didn’t suffer too much damage from inconsiderate people looking for a quick buck. And I hope that at least a couple of the “lucky finders” will do as intended and pay their luck forward. But I’m not holding my breath.

TT says:

My wife, my daughter and I were lucky enough to each find a Hidden Cash envelope with $75 each in it on Monday night. We were also proactive enough that we were already at the Woodward Park before HiddenCash even announced the location, we like to say that luck comes to those who are well prepared.

As far as paying it forward, we have done a couple of things. First of all, we actually found 4 envelopes, but since only 3 of our family members were there, we didn’t want to take more than one per person so we directed a young child, who we didn’t know, over the to the 4th envelope. I have to admit, this was my wife’s idea, I’m not sure I would have done the same thing if she wasn’t around.

The day after the event, my daughter went to the drive thru of her favorite fast food restaurant and paid the bill for the car behind her, it ended up being a little bit larger amount then she expected, but she understood the concept of paying it forward and was happy to do it.

Last night, my wife and I went to a small neighborhood restaurant. My wife ended up recognizing the waitress as an acquaintance from her job and had a brief, but somewhat personal conversation with her. We then ordered and ate our dinner and I enjoyed a nice cold beer. When the waitress came to drop off the bill, she said she would take care of the food and that we just need to pay for the beer. I had been thinking about it, but once this happen I knew this was where I needed to pay it forward. The bill came to just $2.98, I put the $50 bill I found from Hidden Cash on the table and we quickly left before the waitress came back. I tweeted a picture of the bill and the $50 to @hiddencash so that he knows how this is being paid forward and hopefully encourage him to keep this up.

My wife is still considering how to pay it forward with her findings, she has a few ideas.

We don’t know how these strangers re-acted to being the recipient of a “pay it forward”, but I hope it made their day just like finding the money made ours. Finding the money was great, but being able to be share it with unsuspecting strangers was even better. I think I understand why HiddenCash is doing this now.

Dale Stewart says:


Bethany Clough says:

That’s great, TT! Thanks for sharing!

Shirley says:

Why be negative about something meant as good? TT, understood the spirit of it. Doing (even small) good deeds for strangers would help them understand but the critics are the ones who are too selfish…. If they tried optimism they’d feel a little nicer about the world and themselves

pk says:

I followed the excitement on twitter and such, and was glad Fresno was chosen! Didn’t even try, but enjoyed the search from my phone. Parking on the Freeway is idiotic, and NOT COOL! No one else’s safety should be compromised for a game! The $$ are not worth it! Mr. Hidden Cash doesn’t realize that people can get crazy and unfortunately that is a reality too!
That is wonderful to create an atmosphere of generosity, but the recklessness is a concern….do other cities have that issue too?

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