The Case of the Anonymous Santa

On a good day I find it humorous and on a bad day I find it frustrating but every time that I talk about how kind total strangers have been to me in Romania, people here always find a way to explain it away.

Me: Everyone treats me so well here, even total strangers.
Romanian: Oh it’s just because they knew you were a foreigner.
Me: No, it even happened when I spoke Romanian and they didn’t know I was a foreigner.
Romanian: Oh they somehow still knew you were a foreigner through some secret detection process that you are unaware of.
Me: I see.


Me: Everyone treats me so well here, even total strangers.
Romanian: You got lucky.
Me: No, I’m telling you it’s happened lots of times, even in Bucharest.
Romanian: Bucharest? Impossible! You are confused. People from my region/hometown are nice and friendly but not those uncivilized barbarians in Bucharest.
Me: I see. I guess I don’t know what the hell happened to me in my own life then, eh?
Romanian: Yep, pretty much.

And yet for months I’ve been tracking a strange case via Facebook, the case of the Anonymous Santa who is apparently operating out of Timisoara.

This is the first photo I saw and as you can see by the date on the phone, it was from January 23, 2012. My translation of the note:

My pleasure [to give this] for anyone who needs it!

It’s good to help someone without asking for anything in return :)

Signed: A Person

If you’re reading this on a small screen or can’t load photos, the picture is of a chocolate bar (and the note) resting on top of a public telephone somewhere.

Originally I thought this was a one-time phenomenon. But I’ve seen yet more gifts left by the Anonymous Santa.

The photo is a close-up of a croissant wrapped in plastic and left somewhere in public. The note’s translation:

For anyone who is hungry and wants a roll (croissant). It’s my pleasure, [signed] A Person.

PS: It’s good to give something to someone without asking for anything in return!


Well that certainly made me smile, that’s for sure :)

I know there’s yet a third gift (and photo) from the Anonymous Santa floating around the internet somewhere but I can’t seem to find it this morning. Clearly based on both the handwriting (and smiley face) and the fact that the food gifts are all desserts, I’d say that the Anonymous Santa is almost certainly a woman.

But who is she? What is her story? Why is she leaving gifts and kind notes around town? And has anyone noticed this besides me? I assume somewhere, someone else in Romania has noticed that this person is doing this on a regular basis but I haven’t seen any mention of it in anywhere I’ve been (although admittedly I don’t spend much time wading through the Romanian blogosphere).

So… now you can’t say that Romanians are only kind to foreigners like me or to their close friends and family. Clearly this is the work of a Romanian being extremely generous and selfless to her fellow Romanians. So what’s your explanation for that?

What’s that? Oh I can’t hear you over the deafening silence.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader “PhenoBarbieDoll”, here’s the third picture:

And here is a story (in Romanian) about the Anonymous Santa.

3 thoughts on “The Case of the Anonymous Santa

  1. People are stupid. These are the same people who say “of course life is better in [country X]” despite never having been there or talked to someone who lives there. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but generalizations like this drive me up the wall. I’m sure that if the people telling you this crap would really *think* about it, they would find dozens of examples of the kindness of strangers. (You know, that guy who just gave you direction to the post office didn’t have to do it… he was just being kind.) Despite living in Bucharest (and, the horror, even being born here!) I see nice people every day. If you’re willing to see the good things in life, everything will feel much better…


  2. ha ha ha!
    i think most of romanians (who know you) think it’s a little strange that an american citizen choose to live in Romania,where the most of romanians thinking how to leave Romania to fly in USA,or in western countries of Europe (“EL Dorado”for ordinary people from here (if they find a lucky way for that).
    Romanians sympathize on you for this “abnormal” situation.
    :)) Romanians love their country very much (we have everything,mountains to travel and hunting bears or stakes,sea litoral for the summer,lakes and rivers for fishing,old monasteries and architectural buildings from the glory past,we have 2000 years of history to tales,but in the present days,just ONE BIG PROBLEM WE HAVE:
    L.A.C.K O.F. M.O.N.E.Y !!! money,money,money ,damn money.
    we are poor people in a rich country,unfortunately


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