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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
By Margie Wuebker
Something for nothing?
Secret Santa gives patrons gift of coffee; customers share their own generosity
  CELINA - Customers at the Party Mart, 317 S. Main St., believe in Santa Claus - Mrs. Santa Claus that is - after receiving surprise gifts that warmed their hearts and their tummies.
The benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, handed Party Mart clerk Julie Brookhart a wad of money in the beginning of the month, asking her to use $5 each day- Monday through Friday until Christmas - to buy coffee or cappuccino for customers of her choosing.
"I didn't understand initially," Brookhart explained with a chuckle. "I've worked for Shell since the mid-1990s and nothing like this happened before."
The woman told Brookhart to take the payment for her coffee out of the first $5 and then consider the remainder of the money as an advanced payment for customers that Brookhart selected.
The clerk decided to target customers who brought in their own mugs because paying the cheaper 50-cent refill charge would make the money go farther. Consequently, she could surprise 10 people each day instead of five.
Brookhart and fellow clerk Barb Lockwood have given numerous explanations to selected customers who brought their filled mugs to the cash register and discovered they owed nothing.
"Our goal is to target new folks each day in order to spread more cheer," Brookhart said. "People don't know how to act when it comes to getting something for free. You can't believe all the startled looks we get in return."
Some tossed a couple quarters into a cup on the counter and told the clerks to buy Mrs. Santa Claus some holiday cheer. Others took her lead and purchased coffee or cappuccino for someone else in the store at the time. Two people - a woman and a man -even added $5 bills to the original donation.
"This is a good example of how helping others can catch on big time," Brookhart said. "Think what would happen if we all shared in the gift of giving even on a small scale. And for all of us here at the Party Mart, we certainly believe in Mrs. Santa Claus."
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Suspect charged with murder in beating death
• Local developer: Go see manure digester in Wooster
• Sale of small land parcels approved
• Pair arrested for car theft
• Local museum receives several Hopi kachinas
• Maxson served New Bremen basketball well
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Saturday Night
66°
Chance Thunderstorms
35%
Sunday
81°
Chance Thunderstorms
31%
Sunday Night
65°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
22%
Monday
83°
Partly Sunny
14%
Monday Night
65°
Partly Cloudy
12%
Tuesday
86°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
15%
Tuesday Night
66°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
15%
Wednesday
86°
Chance Thunderstorms
30%
Wednesday Night
67°
Partly Cloudy
25%
Thursday
86°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
20%
Thursday Night
66°
Partly Cloudy
18%
3 Day
Extended
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