Anonymous 'Santas' Pay Off Strangers' Layaway Accounts

One of the best parts of the holiday season is the kindness of strangers, and one of the best stories that highlights this is the number of anonymous donors this year who are paying off Kmart layaway accounts across the country. It's beautiful, emotional, and shows the kind of generosity of human spirit that should be present year-round. So why isn't it? Why do we wait until Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa to showcase how amazingly kind we can be to one another?

The story is this: At Kmart stores across the country, anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts. Layaway is basically a way to buy items by paying little by little and is obviously something employed mostly by struggling families. These anonymous donors are buying the Christmas gifts, especially toys and kids' clothing, that their parents can't afford. Yes, it seems there really is a Santa after all.

Now it seems some whose accounts were paid off are also even paying it forward.


Lori Stearnes said at first she thought it was a joke. Her total bill was about $250, but after the stranger helped, she only had a $58 balance, she said. Even though she lives paycheck to paycheck, she had set aside money for the holidays, and now she is using that money to help others pay their accounts. 

At a Kmart in Indianapolis, a young father with three children was wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. Soon after he asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas, a random woman said she was paying it all. He burst into tears. She did the same for many others and then started handing out $50 bills, all in memory of her husband.

These are beautiful stories that make us all weepy and certainly they should. But where is this generosity the rest of the year? Not to be all Scrooge-y about it, but wouldn't it be lovely to see someone pay off a layaway bill on August 22, too?

The problem with stories like these is they're the anomaly when they should be the norm. If someone has more than someone else, why shouldn't they want to give and share? It's all part of living in a society together.

Stories like these make us believe in people and their basic kindness, but they're also sort of common in December. It would be amazing to live in a world where stories like these happened all year round.

Did this story make you cry?


Image via Bart Fields/Flickr

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