WILMINGTON -- From his Middlesex Avenue office, Steve Grant practices law. On www.plentyoftwenties.com, he runs a different business -- giving away $20 each day by hiding the money in various locations around Massachusetts and posting about it, all in the name of adventure.
"Wicked fun, that's the name of the game," Grant said.
Grant and his childhood best friend, Richard Cook, started the project in 2011 as a social experiment and have stashed a $20 bill each day since then, offering up more than $15,000 to treasure hunters. They've used Plenty of Twenties to market businesses and donate to charity.
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"We hide money and you find it," their website reads. "Sounds crazy but it's true."
Grant stopped by The Sun this week, $20 bill in hand, to explain the concept.
Q: How did this get started?
A: Me and Rich were arguing one day, like we always do, this time over how far would someone go for 20 bucks. It turns out, I would go farther than Rich would. He said people wouldn't go out of their way for $20. One day shortly thereafter, I put a $20 in Wakefield Public Library, and I posted on Facebook, "here's $20, here's a photo of the book, who wants it?" Within 90 minutes, someone found it, posted a photo of her own, and it just got us thinking.
Q: Where does the money come from?
A: Well, at the beginning, most or all of the $20s came out of our own pocket.
Q: How do people find out where the money is?
A: We post it on online, and nowadays you don't even have to check our website all day long. I'll share the post to our Facebook and to our Twitter page. We have an app, and we even have an email club, which is my favorite thing.
Q: Where do you put the $20 bills?
A: Inside, outside, private places, public places -- name a town, I've hidden some there.
Q: How about Lowell?
A: I'm a lawyer, so I've done Lowell District Court, the Registry of Deeds. You guys have a quilt museum; I've done one there.
Q: You're giving away money. Do people think you're crazy?
A: Yeah, but once I explain it, you sometimes see a light go off. But some people still look at me like I must be rich or stupid.
Q: So are you either rich or stupid?
A: No comment. (laughs) I'm not rich, that's for sure. You should see my law-school debt. My joke is, everyone thinks I'm rich because I give away money. But I'm poor -- because I give away money.
Q: Why do it then?
A: It's a lot of fun. I love it when finders send me a photo of them with the $20 and how much fun they had with it. They have fun with their friends, and they just get a kick out of it.
Q: Do you ever hear of people doing crazy things to find the money?
A: People drive up to an hour, they'll tell me. And even if they don't find it, they'll thank us. It's an adventure. I try to avoid that situation, though. I ask the finders to let me know when they found the $20. If you tell me you find it, I give $2 to the One Fund, just to encourage people to let me know it's gone.
Q: How long does it usually take before the $20 is gone?
A: That depends. If I do one in Boston like mid-day, it'll take five minutes. But if I do one in Leominster at like 1 a.m., it'll take a day or two. That was one of the questions we wanted to answer: Do people pay attention? Do they care?
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