Gnome ‘N’ Seek is a cash giveaway game involving gnomes that debuted in the city of Louisville, Kentucky.
The innovative scavenger hunt began in February, 2014 when a twitter message from a mysterious philanthropist suddenly appeared to pique the curiosity of the citizens of Louisville.
Going by the name of “The Louisville Gnome” (aka “Mr. Gnome”) the eccentric benefactor left the following message: “Ok Boys and Girls. Everyday this month I will hide a Gnome around Louisville with money. A picture will be posted and a hint. #GnomeGame.”
Thus began the search for hidden gnomes and a quick payout of cash.
Although, Mr. Gnome doesn’t want his identity known, he told a local reporter that the money he leaves comes from funds he inherited from his grandfather who told his grandson to “do something unique with the money.” The game is a way of giving back to the community because Mr. Gnome feels he has led a privileged life and wants to share his good fortune with others.
Before the game begins, Mr. Gnome surreptitiously tucks away a gnome with a Ziploc baggie full of cash in a discreet location (like under a bench or in a bush) and waits for the lucky person to find his gnomic treasure.
For those who find the cash, Mr. Gnome simply says, “Please spend the money wisely”. He also suggests that if the winner does not need the money, then passing it on to someone who is more needy would be a great idea.
Mr. Gnome also works with the charity Free the Children, which works to remove the barriers to education and break the cycle of poverty.
NOTE: In the summer of 2014, another anonymous social experiment called HiddenCash arose in San Francisco, California. But instead of a gnome, money was attached to a Pez dispenser. Participants were asked to find the money, then share a tweetphoto to @hiddencash.