"HiddenCash" Generates Social Media Frenzy in San Francisco, Heads for San Jose | NBC Bay Area

"HiddenCash" Generates Social Media Frenzy in San Francisco, Heads for San Jose

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    A hidden stash of cash is up for grabs in San Jose. And Bob Redell got his hands on it - or, did he? (Published Wednesday, May 28, 2014)

    Someone has been dropping envelopes full of cash across San Francisco, causing a social media frenzy, and that frenzy could be spreading.

    The mysterious man behind the Twitter handle @HiddenCash says he will be "giving away money in San Jose on Wednesday.”

    The anonymous Twitter user has been hiding money throughout the City since Friday, leading scores on a scavenger hunt. The tweets usually offer a clue to where the money is, but don’t tell people outright.

    His Twitter following has exploded from a few hundred on Friday to more than 85,000 and counting by Tuesday afternoon.

    Now he’s apparently headed toward another region with a hot real estate market: Silicon Valley.

    On Tuesday, one of his clues told San Francisco followers to "find Mr. Franklin along the `crookedest street,' (towards the bottom).''

    Translation: There was a $100 bill at the bottom of Lombard Street, the popular touristy thoroughfare that's best known as the "Crookedest Street in The World.''

    Three envelopes were hidden at Pier 39. San Franciscan Brian Seward was the first to find one of them.

    “I saw the tweet and I knew the place,” Seward said. “I saw the vista here and I walked on over, and over there this envelope was taped up folded with a hundred bucks in it.” What is he going to do with the money? “I’m gonna buy my friends food and drink.”

    Money was also planted money at Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts.

    Hidden Cash's creator says his giveaways are a "social experiment for good.” He claims to make his money off San Francisco's hot real estate market and hopes that winners also "pay it forward.”

    One winner said Tuesday he did just that.

    Sergio Loza, 28, of San Francisco, said he saw a clue on Twitter Sunday morning with the message "Early bird gets the worm.'' He raced out and found an envelope with $50 inside taped to a parking meter in the city's Mission District.

    Loza said he spent $30 on clothes for his 2-year-old niece's birthday and gave her the remaining $20 as well.

    "I didn't spend it on myself,'' said Loza, a security guard. "It feels good to give, especially in these times.''

    @HiddenCash said on Twitter that he plans to leave envelopes in San Jose on Wednesday, Los Angeles this weekend and maybe New York City next month.

    Followers have requested similar gestures in Alabama, Washington, D.C., and as far away as Pakistan with various hashtags ranging from #kindness, #generous, #epic and #strange.

    Loza said he sent @HiddenCash "a big shoutou”' on Twitter thanking him for the money.

    "It's a positive thing. I hope he keeps it up,'' Loza said. "While you probably can't help the whole world, a few at a time is definitely good.'