When a Maryland real estate company handed out red envelopes to employees during the annual holiday party, no one knew what to expect.
So when the 198 employees of St. John Properties received surprise bonuses averaging $50,000, it was a holiday miracle most didn't see coming. All the bonuses totaled around $10 million.
"When I opened the envelope, I was in total disbelief," Stephanie Ridgway, an assistant project manager at the company, told CNN.
"I couldn't believe I saw what I saw. I don't even have words to properly describe how I felt, it was just amazing and incredible. I'm still in shock. It's definitely life changing."
St. John Properties President Lawrence Maykrantz told CNN the company had reached a major goal of developing 20 million square feet in real estate, doubling the amount in 14 years.
"We wanted to do something to thank all our employees for helping us achieve our goal, and we wanted to do something big," Maykrantz told CNN.
Each employee received money based on the amount of years they have been working at the company. The smallest amount, $100, was for an employee who was just hired and hadn't even started at the company yet. The largest bonus was $270,000.
"It was truly one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed in my life. Everyone was all overwhelmed with emotions. They were screaming, crying, laughing, hugging," Maykrantz said.