By Sierra Hartman

The anonymous cash hider who has the Internet all atwitter this week is apparently following in the footsteps of another lesser known public benefactor. Some have taken to calling him “The Penny Patron.” After decades of humble single-cent philanthropy, he has decided to break his silence.

“I thought of it first!” grumbled San Francisco native, Donald Kerabatsos.

“This Hidden Cash guy’s just in it for the fame. I’ve been doing the same thing since 1989 and nobody’s ever come to interview me.”

Until now.

Donny called me yesterday and laid out the whole story. It all started at the Lucky Penny coffee shop on Masonic and Geary shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake.

“So there I was at the coffee shop having breakfast and everyone around me just seemed real down. It was no wonder, what with all the crumbled houses and what not, and I thought to myself, ‘Donny, you gotta do something about this.’ I looked down at the menu and there it was: Lucky Penny.”

He finished his breakfast, paid the bill, and tipped the waitress with a roll of shiny new pennies. On his way out, he left another penny on the sidewalk by the front door. Thus began a 25 year long quest to improve the lives of his fellow San Franciscans.

“I’ve had pretty good luck painting houses and I just thought this would be a good way to give back to the community. Why should I hog all this luck? Why not spread it around and have some fun with it too, you know?”

With all the 20s and 100s recently being found in bushes and bike racks though, Donny is afraid people will no longer take the time to pick up his pennies. Apparently it’s not just about the money, either.

“Ever heard of a lucky dollar? No, you haven’t. A $100 bill is just money; a penny’s got luck.”

When I asked if all the hype around @HiddenCash would bring an end to his copper plated legacy, Donny assured me that there was no end in sight.

“Some guy tried it with quarters back in the ‘90s but people started to recognize him. After a while he had a line of people just following him around, waiting to pick them up right after he put them down. This whole thing ain’t gonna last long.”

After distributing so many dozens of dollars worth of pennies, Donny feels secure in his role as San Francisco’s first incognito financier. His fan club may not be as conspicuous, but if you’ve ever found a penny on the sidewalk in San Francisco, you now know who to thank.

*Editor’s note: in case it wasn’t obvious, please note that this is a fictional story meant to be taken as satire.