BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KMSP) - It was quite the scene at the Mall of America this weekend as cash rained down upon unsuspecting shoppers. A man dressed as Santa Claus, apparently trying to spread some holiday cheer, dropped a $1,000 in cash over the fourth floor railings. But the mall wasn’t thrilled with his tactics.
Tyler Ketz, the man who dressed up in red, says he wanted to do something special for others this holiday season.
“I just wanted to put a smile on somebody’s face that didn’t know me, that I didn’t know,” said Ketz. “That was it.”
Ketz explained that his motives were simple and pure. He recently won nearly $6,000 on a slot machine. He also recently had his first child.
He had earmarked some of his winnings for a brand new, high-end television, but came to realize that was selfish. That’s when he came up with the mall Santa idea.
“I thought is there something better I can do with this money?” said Ketz. “What else can I do with this? Why is it burning a hole in my pocket?”
Ketz knew his holiday cash drop wasn’t going to go over well with mall security and it didn’t. He was quickly escorted off the property and barred for 24 hours.
A mall spokeswoman says while Ketz’s heart might have been in the right place, his stunt was dangerous as some shoppers were seen reaching over upper floor railings. Security officials were worried about creating a stampede for the falling cash. However, the mall will not be seeking additional charges.
Ketz though has no regrets. He says he knows there were other ways to hand over $1,000 to others. But he wanted to do it for strangers and he wanted to do it at the mall, a place he insists should be filled with joy.
“The message is: it’s the Christmas spirit,” said Ketz. “To give, to care for people you don’t know. Show love to your fellow human. It doesn’t matter who or what class they are.”
Full Mall of America statement:
“Mall of America welcomes acts of kindness every day - especially during the holiday season. However, this incident created an unsafe environment for our guests - many of whom began reaching over the railings to grab the money being thrown into the space. The safety and security of our guests has and always will be our top priority. In an effort to help guests give back, Mall of America hosts several charity partners onsite. We encourage guests to visit these community partners to learn more about the different ways to give back now and throughout the year.”