"Before becoming the mayor of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia, nicknamed the 'Little Flower,' was a judge at the police court. One bitter cold day in 1933 a trembling old man in a tattered coat was brought before his bench, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. He said he had stolen the bread because his family was starving. LaGuardia declared: 'I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions, so I'm sentencing you to a fine of ten dollars.' Then LaGuardia reached into his pocket: 'Here's the ten dollars for pay your fine,' and he tossed the ten dollar bill into his famous large hat. Looking out at the crowded courtroom he declared, 'Furthermore, I'm going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a man has to steal bread to feed his family! Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and then give them to the defendant!' LaGuardia's hat was passes from person to person in the crowded courtroom. Finally it was handed to the incredulous old man whose eyes glistened with emotion. The hat held $47.50."
Fr. Ed Hays, "A Book of Wonders"