"We thought that … it would be so much fun to just go out and pay for somebody's gas, to pay for somebody's groceries," says Harolyn Smith, who teamed up with friend Shindal Bailey to give away the money. "However, it was a lot of stumps in the road for us."
After several false starts, they realize that people can be suspicious of women handing out money in parking lots—or that they simply don't want to be videotaped receiving gift cards. But some people are happy to be on the receiving end of unexpected goodwill. Harolyn helps one woman at a filling station when she overhears her saying that she could only afford $2 worth of gas for her car.
What they can't give away in gift cards to strangers, Shindal and Harolyn give to a church and a mosque. They also spend several hundred dollars buying new winter coats and gloves for children and men at a Cleveland shelter.
"A lot of times it was … amazing to me that it felt so good giving away the money even though you know you could have used it," Harolyn says. "We bought coats for the homeless, and then I had to turn around the next day, when it snowed, and make sure my daughter had a winter coat. I had to go out and buy her a coat. So, it felt good. It was a good experience, I'm glad that we were chosen."