Whoever's behind the @HiddenCash giveaway frenzy on Twitter had the last laugh Wednesday when he sent a bunch of people at the NBC Bay Area studios into a tizzy over hidden cash in their own parking lot.
The mysterious and generous philanthropist who goes by the Twitter handle @HiddenCash generated a mini-Gold Rush in San Jose on Wednesday, dropping his first envelope containing $135 on a fire hydrant across from the SAP Center.
The last drop spot turned out to be in the bushes outside the NBC Bay Area studio on North First Street.
"Couldn't help do one last one before leaving town, MEDIA will love this one. There's lots of green in these bushes," @HiddenCash tweeted at 1:58 p.m.
Within seconds, NBC Bay Area content producer Gracinda Carvalho was out in the parking lot searching for the cash. She found it easily.
"It was right there in the bush, just like in the picture," she said. "It's like a fun scavenger hunt. I feel lucky, especially since I'm going on vacation next week."
Carvalho said that she had been following @HiddenCash closely all day and she saw the clue as soon as it popped up on her monitor.
Alex Doxie was another lucky winner of the cash earlier Wednesday, which he opened up on live television. Doxie was hot, sweaty and elated to find the secret stash.
"I just had a hunch," he told NBC Bay Area. "It was fun."
The tweet, with one of @HiddenCash's quintessential clues — "First even San Jose drop: across from where these sea creatures play, a dog pees in the fall" — was sent just before 9 a.m. Doxie had been driving nearby all morning long with his brother-in-law, both of whom were game to participate in the social media-driven scavenger hunt of the game.
Though he's a bit richer, Doxie, who runs an environmental cleaning company, said he doesn't know what he'll do with the cash. His plans are to watch his 18-year-old son's baseball game with his wife and have dinner later Wednesday night.
Then, at 9:02 a.m., @HiddenCash tweeted a second clue: "New SJ drop: Behind a tree, under a leaf, across from the fast dogs' station. Tweet when you find it."
The tweets sent those looking to find some free cash scrambling. These folks were poking in bushes near San Jose's Greyhound station. Someone even ripped apart a homeless person's encampment during the rush. And about 45 minutes later, a radio station employee at Mix 106.5 across the street found $140. She didn't want to face the crowds, but radio hosts "Pope and Marla" came to speak to the media on her behalf. Later in the day, cash was found at San Jose's Oakridge Mall.
@HiddenCash's creator, whoever that might be, says his giveaways are a "social experiment for good.” He confirmed his gender to news outlets in an email, also adding that he made millions in real estate.
Earlier this week, the anonymous Twitter user hid money in San Francisco, leading scores on a scavenger hunt. Some money was found on Lombard Street, Pier 39, Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts.
San Franciscan Brian Seward was the first to find the money in San Francisco.
“I saw the tweet, and I knew the place,” Seward said on Tuesday. “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.”
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.''
Couldn't help do one last one before leaving town. MEDIA will love this one. There's lots of green in these bushes. pic.twitter.com/1Eco4dyb7h
— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 28, 2014
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) May 28, 2014
NBC Bay Area's Riya Bhattacharjee contributed to this report.