Across America, "Secret Santas" paying off families' layaway balances
It's sweeping America -- total strangers asking store managers to apply $50, $100, $500 and even larger amounts to past-due toy and children's clothing accounts
$120 balance on her Christmas gifts. “There is still good will toward men out there,” she says.
In Connecticut, Sonya McDuffie had dreams of toys under the tree for Christmas, reports Amanda Raus for NBC News. Although she didn’t have enough money, she put a number of items on layaway at Toys R Us in Milford while she tried to save up enough money to pay them off before Christmas.
She was about to let them go back — and pick up the money she had put down on a Mickey Mouse, an Elmo, a doll house and baby dolls.
“I didn’t have enough money to get the items,” McDuffie said. She when she got to the store, the account had a zero balance. The manager and the staff double-checked computer and, indeed, it was paid off.
“I was like, it was paid off?” she remembers. “I was so excited and numb at the same time. We just weren’t going to have toys for
Christmas, maybe only one toy per kid. It was just going to be family getting together, so this was a blessing.”
In Pennsylvania, newspaper reporter Tom Knapp writes how a customer wept when a Kmart manager called with the good news. The customer had put toys on layaway but couldn’t afford to pay off the balance. It looked like she wouldn’t have them in time for her children on Christmas morning.