This holiday season, anonymous Good Samaritans stepped up to help families in need from coast to coast. These men and women, called “layaway angels,” plunked down large sums of cash at their local retailers to pay off the layaway account balances for total strangers.
In Bellingham, Mass. Toys R Us, a generous woman paid off every single layaway balance to the tune of $20,000, local TV station Fox 25 reports. “I have no words. I can’t believe someone would do that, it’s so nice,” Diane Brewer, a mom from Mendon who was working extra shifts to pay for presents for her son, tells the station. “I have been running around all week picking up layaways everywhere, so this is really awesome.”
At an Oldsmar, Fla. Walmart, one man (later identified as John Sanders of Jamson Labs & Power Kleen Corporation) gave $12,000 to clear the layaway balances for 55 customers, according to Fox 13. “Our theory was if people had it on layaway, they were maybe struggling a little bit for the holidays,” Sanders says.
The Consumerist notes that this touching trend kicked off in 2011 after a California man dropped $16,000 to pay off layaway balances for local families. This season, Secret Santas have also popped up in places such as Cleveland; Iowa City, Iowa; Mechanicsburg, Pa.; Chiefland, Fla. and nearby in Lake City, Fla.; where a generous donor paid a whopping $59,000 to clear 300 accounts at a local Walmart.
Even NFL player Tim Tebow is joining in on the good cheer. The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes that the quarterback teamed up with “Good Morning America” to surprise shoppers for a whole week.
“You don’t understand how hard I’ve been working,” Damara Jarrett said after Tebow paid off her $701 tab. “And then I said I was going to take stuff off [the account] because I can’t afford everything, and then this. Just thank you. I just want to cry.”
With the type of news that’s been dominating the headlines, it’s truly wonderful to see something positive that’s sweeping the country.