Random acts of kindness can sometimes be tricky to pull off.

It probably can’t be repeated enough how much credit is due to hospital staff for constantly facing coronavirus infections head-on while also handling the normal chaos of their lines of work. For that they deserve our respect and admiration, and for those who have the means to do so, a monetary donation can also make a big difference in their efforts.

But how does one go about doing that? In order to avoid a fuss and cut out middlemen, some may opt for the direct anonymous donation. However, as seen in an attempted gift to Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital earlier this month, it can be surprisingly hard to do.

On 5 October, the hospital received an envelope by private courier. The envelope had their old address and “General Medicine” written on it, but still arrived safely. Inside were two other envelopes with 3 million yen (US$29,000) and 2 million yen ($19,000) in cash inside and labelled “hospital” and “childhood cancer” respectively, using what appeared to be words cut out of a newspaper of magazine.

Although it was a labeling method usually reserved for ransom notes, a letter inside confirmed the kindness of the sender. “I was encouraged [to send money] when infections broke out and hospital staff were getting vilified”, read the note, referring to a cluster that occurred at the hospital earlier this year.

The note also requested the hospital to “put the money to good use” and was signed “Anonymous Hope.” It wasn’t terribly anonymous, however, as a woman’s name and return address in Kobe’s Kita Ward were also written on the main envelope.

▼ The hospital was thrust into the spotlight for its cluster that broke out relatively early in the pandemic

The hospital checked its records to find a patient with the same name, but no matches came up. Given the various idiosyncrasies of the gift, the hospital was worried that a mistake might have been made and returned the entire package.

However, on 9 October the same package arrived again, this time with no return address, strongly suggesting that it was indeed for them. After consulting with their lawyers, the hospital finally decided to accept the donation and use it to bolster their stock of PPE.

So, after some initial awkwardness, all was well that ended well. It’s understandable too, as it was probably the sender’s first time doing something like this, and Kobe City Medical Center told media that it was definitely the first time they’d ever received an “anonymous” donation.

If you too would like to donate directly to an institution in Japan without giving away your identity, a good rule of thumb is to use the alias “Tiger Mask” or “Naoto Date.” After a spate of gifts bearing those names appeared throughout the 21st century, those manga character names are almost universally understood here to mean something is an anonymous donation, and should get your gift through on the first try.

Source: Asahi Shimbun
Top image: Pakutaso
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