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

BY: Rob Kerby


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Christmas, maybe only one toy per kid. It was just going to be family getting together, so this was a blessing.”

A Kmart manager exclaims his astonishment

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.

“Then a gentleman came in a few days ago,” store manager Dean Paul said. “He asked one of my assistant managers … to find a layaway of children’s toys.”

The balance on the purchase was $225, Paul said, and the anonymous stranger promptly put $200 on the counter.

“We called the customer to notify her. She was very, very happy. She was in tears,” Paul said said. “She came in to pay off the balance and take home the toys in time for Christmas.”

In Florida, Emily Roach of the Palm Beach Post newspaper reported a man had put town the last money he owned for Christmas toys and clothes for his five children, ages 16, 13, 12, 9 and 6. Cesar Pereira “spent his last paycheck on a $200 payment for the layaway bundle,

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