'Secret Santas' Paying Off Kmart Layaways for Poor FamiliesCarolyn Castiglia
Imagine waiting in line at Kmart customer service, your dirty work clothes still on, stressed about whether or not you’ll be able to pay off your layaway account before Christmas. You get to the counter and suddenly a woman shows up saying, “No, I’m paying for it.”
That’s what’s been happening at Kmart stores all over the country.
According to Yahoo, “Anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn’t afford, especially toys and children’s clothes set aside by impoverished parents.” An Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s “paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people” and “handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.” She was apparently doing so to honor her husband, who died recently.
In Omaha, anonymous donors are paying off layaway accounts and then asking employees to inform the account holders. Dona Bremser, a nurse, got a call at work letting her know someone paid the balance remaining on the toys she was buying her son. “I was speechless,” Bremser said. “It made me believe in Christmas again.”
Yahoo reports, “Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana. The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children … Kmart representatives say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity.”
One Samaritan in Omaha told Kmart assistant manager Karl Graff that she was paying off layaway accounts because “when she was younger, her mom used to set up things on layaway at Kmart, but they rarely were able to pay them off because they just didn’t have the money for it.” Graff added, “You know, 50 bucks may not sound like a lot, but I tell you what, at the right time, it may as well be a million dollars for some people.”
If you want to tear up over specific anecdotes (like the lady who received a call about one of these “secret Santas” while visiting her son in the hospital), visit Yahoo for more.
Read Babble’s special article on How to Raise Children Who Give Back