MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The local man making national headlines for tossing $1,000 at the Mall of America and receiving a police citation told WCCO the reason behind the stunt.

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“I didn’t realize it would be this big,” 29-year-old Serge Vorobyov said.

Vorobyov, from Apple Valley, tossed $1,000 worth of bills over the railing from the upper floor of the Mall of Amerca rotunda on Black Friday. The Youtube video shot by his brother captured the moment he threw the cash to shoppers.

He got the idea from a GEICO Insurance commercial where a man is riding a motorcycle with money flying off of him.

“I thought to do something funny, have some fun with it and it turned out a lot of people enjoyed it,” he said.

After a rough year of losing his business and going through a divorce, he said he wanted to do something to make the holidays better for others.

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“It was my left effort of pay it forward,” Vorobyov said. “I thought I can’t keep up with my bills, I’m losing everything, might as well have my last little thrill.”

Vorobyov gave away the money hoping good karma would come back around. He threw the bills as a choir was performing “Let It Snow” in the rotunda.

“There was a guy in front of me on the escalator yelling ‘fake money’, and I would just reach into my pocket and go ‘no, it’s real’ and throw it,” he said.

Serge said he knew he’d get in trouble. He was cited for disorderly conduct and can’t go to the Mall of America for a year. A representative for the mall said he disrupted the performance and could have caused a serious situation.

“I don’t regret it,” he said. “Everyone is having fun and I think that’s what life is about having fun, just following your heart.”

People have thrown things like tomatoes from the top of the rotunda, but a Mall of America spokesperson said this is the first time anyone has ever thrown cash or anything like that.

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Kate Raddatz