READING, Pa. – Every year, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman goes out with Secret Santa – an anonymous businessman who travels the country at Christmas time. Secret Santa randomly goes up to people in bus stations and thrift stores and hands out 100 dollar bills.
“We can change the world one random act of kindness at a time,” says Secret Santa.
One of the people Secret Santa gave money to is 30-year-old Thomas Coates.
“I didn’t earn that,” Coates said to Secret Santa.
“You did earn it,” Secret Santa replied. “Because I can tell you’re a good man.”
Coates started to tear up, and said the last time he was called a good man was by “maybe, um, my mom.”
Coates is a deadbeat by most accounts, including his own. Addicted to heroin, he recently hocked his own son’s toys for drug money – that’s how bad it is.
“I haven’t worked in over a year,” Coates said. “I spent so much time in and out of treatment facilities.”
Why his girlfriend hasn’t left him and taken their son is a mystery – even to her. But she is now running out of patience. Which is why the night before we met him – during yet another one of their many fights – she suggested he try something radical – a prayer.