BANGOR, Maine — When Courtney Carrier showed up for her Saturday morning waitressing gig at Dysart’s on Broadway, she never dreamed she’d be getting what likely was her biggest tip ever — a crisp $100 bill, a pair of stuffed elves and a Santa hat to brighten the rest of her day.
“It was a big surprise,” Carrier said. “I’m very, very, very thankful for it, too, so it was pretty cool. I’ll probably just save it. My boyfriend and I are planning to go to Florida in February.”
Carrier was among the first to get “elfed” by members of the Bangor Elves, an anonymous group that each December since 2010 has been popping up at local restaurants, laundromats, nursing homes, sidewalks and other places, doling out thousands in cash, gift cards and other items in Bangor and more recently, Brewer.
Saturday was the group’s “Day of Good Deeds” and Carrier was one of the first to be a beneficiary of a good deed. A former Calais resident now living and working in Bangor, she’s been accepted for the spring semester at the University of Maine at Augusta’s Bangor campus.
Later in the morning, other elves showed up at Pickering Square, where they set up several tables in a covered but open area along the front of the parking garage.
The tables were laden with warm clothing and blankets, food and drinks, toiletries and many other items for anyone who needed them. The elves even provide totebags so that the people who turned out had a way to bring their hauls home.
Bangor resident Nicole Roberts was happy to find them there.
“Actually, I just saw them setting up so I thought I’d just come down,” she said. “What I do is take a bunch of socks and warm gloves and something and I may know someone who doesn’t have it so I pass it on, which is cool, because ‘Help thy Neighbor,’ you know?”
It’s the kind of generosity Roberts rarely saw before moving to Maine from New Jersey about 13 years ago.
“You don’t get stuff like this. I wouldn’t say never, but it’s rare. You would really have to know the resources, where to get it, from where I’m at in Jersey, so stuff like this is a godsend,” she said.
The head elf, who did not want to be identified, said the giving goes beyond the “Day of Good Deeds.” The elves has provided wood, heating fuel and other necessities.
Recently, the elves covered the cost of a couple of weeks stay at a local hotel for a Brewer family. Both parents lost their jobs and the family was evicted. They are currently working on finding other housing but that takes time, the head elf said.
“In the meantime, they literally had no place to stay. I had people calling saying, ‘It’s getting cold outside. What are we going to do about them?’”
The Christmas cheer spread by the group is appreciated.
“The Bangor Elves made my day today at Ross Manor,” one fan posted on the group’s Facebook page after members dropped by for some caroling. “Thank you so much for your Christmas spirit.”
A woman who was “elfed” at a local laundromat was thrilled to receive a stuffed elf and a $10 roll of quarters: “U all r fantastic!!!! U absolutely made my day! Merry Christmas’”