ONLY ON 3: Secret Santa says ‘Pay it forward’

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Submitted: Wed, 12/21/2011 - 4:59am
Updated: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 3:07pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Reports of “Secret Santas” paying off layaway accounts have swept across the country this holiday season, and Wilmington is no exception. We told you yesterday about a family that had their layaway balance paid off by a stranger just in time for Christmas. Now, a “Secret Santa” has come forward to tell his side of the story.

“I’ve never done anything like that before and I wanted to know if they would let me do it at the Kmart here,” our Secret Santa said.

He says the holiday spirit is contagious. After watching stories from across the country about generosity and caring, Santa decided to head to the Wilmington Kmart and see what he could do.

“It was really an amazing thing, because I didn’t expect it to be so easy,” he said. “You walk into the Wilmington Kmart, you go to the back where the layaway are. There are people behind the counter there that are helping people put their Christmas toys away, and they’ll be just as helpful for you if you want to offer to help pay off someone’s layaway.”

“Santa” says he has always believed it’s better to give than to receive, but this year he says it’s gone to a whole new level. He says when he finished paying off three Wilmington accounts, he was ready to go full of holiday cheer. Before he could leave, though, a woman who had come to the store to pick her presents up stopped him. Her account had been paid off by another considerate Kris Kringle.

“She was actually standing next to me, and she saw what I was doing, and she thanked me on behalf of the anonymous person who had paid off her toys for Christmas,” he said. “She said she was going to pay it forward. It was just one of those moments where everything just feels great. I mean, it’s such an easy way to feel wonderful during the holidays. I would really encourage anyone to do this.”


  • crystal swackhamer says:

    Secret santa my family could use a secret santa …me and my husband are from sayre pa …we have five children ages 14, 12,11,9,and husband has been putting in over time so we can pay are morgande lot rent and all the other bills all by him self do to I have had six serguries in the past 3 mos for thease visious kidney stones…that I have in both my kidneys the dr has been alternating sides to try and break them up but by time he gets back to the other side the kidney stone has grown …but inbatween operations I have been cutting healing time short and head right back to work to pick up some hours to try and help my husband…but anyone who has had a kidney stone knows when they move its know joke…its horible..:(..but my last opperation was two weeks ago and my dr told me then that we are going to discuss doing a major sergury on november 13 as this is are only option because we can’t break them up with the machine and get them all so now he is going to have to go in threw… my back and go into my kidneys to remove them ..that’s going to lay me up for awile is coming I finally got a paycheck this Friday along with my husbands check I have my morgade payment and playing catch up with the electric and paying our car payment and …that meens are christmas layaway we have for our children at k mart in sayre pa don’t get payed and he my husband has been working so hard to pay and keep up with everything isn’t getting payed this week and its due…breaks my heart to feel so helpless right now ….I pray ever night its like thease kidney stones have taken such a big part of our life away…I’m so tired and wore down from them …I just want my life back want my kids to have a christmas I don’t even know if we are going to have money for thanksgiving it amazing how something like this can set you back so much in life I never drempt…I know my husband is exasted and needs a break but he don’t give up he is just a amazing man we are so lucky to have him…miracles happen who knows …..god bless all the people who has taken part in the secret santa …

  • Neighbor says:

    Hi I know of a family in desperate need of help for christmas they are neigjbors of mine and I often go check on the mother shes been fighting cancer for a year n ow her husband has a severe back injury ands fighting for disability they have a 2 yr old little boy and a 8.yr old little girl I recently went to check on the mother and she was getting christmas decorations out crying while doing so she looked at me and said my children want me to decorate and her daughter asked her how come santa hadnt dropped boxes off for her to wrap to go under the tree so santa could fill them up the mother walked out of the room sobbing trying not to let her children hear her she told me she was so full of guilt and couldnt handle her children waking up schristmas morning with no santa this family has been through so much this past year they even listed their truck on craigs list hoping to sell it to buy the children christmas I gave her 20$ and te she sshe wanted so dbamuch to go buy a gift for the children but needed diapers and milk ive called her to check on her daily and can tell shes been crying if theres a secret santa out there I cant think of a family more deserving for their children to have a christmas they have no idea ive asked for them help but they would consider it a miracle their address is 8750 columbus rd lot 41 A mt vernon ohio there phone is 419 560 4659 Rebecca Barbour is the mothers name

  • Ihavebeenblessed says:

    I will help, I googled this address and can’t find it however. I live in Florida so if you could give me better directions I could take care of it. I have done this before for a friend but I called her utility company directly so that is another option if you could give the name of who I need to call and a number.

  • Patricia says:

    In the spirit of holiday giving… I know of someone in great need..
    A young senior, too proud to ask.. has not had kerosene in the tank outside her mobile home since 2009.. she uses small heaters in the trailer and complains to no one… If this person knew she would be upset that I told her story… Winters are cold! Is ther a secret Santa that can help?

    30 clayton drive, springbrook park, clifton park, ny
    I know because I live a few houses down, my husband did a repair last year and noticed the tank on E.. it has never been filled, it’s still on E

    Is there a secret Santa out there?

  • neighbor says:

    i was just wandering if there were any more secret santas out there that would help a couple out? they have nothing to share with each other his little check goes straight to rent. I know they are adults but even adults like to receive something around christmass.

  • Guest3 says:

    Who said they didn’t have the cash to get their layaway out of Kmart? The story mentioned two people who were there to get their layaways out at the same time Secret Santa was there. But “Santa” paid it off before they shelled out the money to Kmart.

    It’s also happening at Wal-Marts. People are trying to help the children and do something nice for others at Christmas. Wow. You get more negative at every new post you write. It must be miserable to live a life so negative and suspicious about everything and everyone.

  • Guest3 says:

    There is always an abundance of people who give to charitable organizations…all year round. Why not help out someone who is struggling to give their kids a good Christmas? I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    If he gave the money to a homeless guy, it would probably be spent on drugs and/or alcohol. That’s one thing about paying off someone’s layaway…it goes for gifts for their kids, and not for drugs/alcohol.

  • Ryan says:

    I see his point, there are much better charities, and worthy causes to help out, this is something you do when you want to make yourself feel better…wish he had given that money to some homeless guy

  • SecretSanta says:

    Now that’s hardly the holiday spirit. If he wants to be miserly let him. Just like in Scrooge’s tale, nothing makes you more miserable than being alone. Even if you have everything it is nothing without someone to share it with. So just spread good cheer and feel safe in trusting that the OP probably has an unhappy life.

  • Guest guest says:

    Neither of you must have read the article. Read it again, this time open your eyes.

  • reading says:

    I agree, people have been giving to charities that have used the money for other proposes than what it was intended. People also give $$$ to other countries. It is about time that we start helping the people that are in need right here at home! I have always wanted to go to the grocery store and get with the manager to identify families that need help and pay their grocery bill! For someone that may want to do something like this and is afraid they are helping people that do not deserve it, Get with the people that know other people that are in need. These people are proud and don’t ask for help. I can only emagine the joy that these people will feel to know that others want to help and don’t ask for anything in return.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    You people do realize that layaway is not just for POOR people right? A lot of folks use it so they can hide the kids presents till the last week. These people that had their bills paid off may not have needed them to be. Obviously there were a few that didnt have the money, well in that case they should do without like everyone else.

    As all you Christians like to point out, Christmas isnt about gifts, is it???

  • Guest20 says:

    Bashing Christians at Christmas…Oh, how I admire you. You have about as much class as a lawn flamingo.

  • Guest20 says:

    No, it’s not about the gifts. It’s about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ. Gifts are merely a way of celebrating His birth, just as presents are given to everyone else on their birthdays. It’s also done to symbolize the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus after His birth.

    Christmas gifts given to the children are to show our love for Jesus and for them, and to teach them how to have a giving spirit.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you. Merry Christmas.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    That was not bashing. Obviously you haven’t read my comments on other streams.

    If folks want to buy other peoples presents more power to um.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    So the cash they didn’t have to give Kmart went to buy what? Could have been anything. And why is it only Kmart? Sears owns Kmart and both are suffering, maybe its all a publicity stunt.

  • Chris says:

    You can ask for a person who is struggling to make their payments. That’s what we did. The staff knows who is having a hard time or not believe me. I paid off two single mom’s who were struggling for more time to pay it off.They had just a few hours left to get the money together or lose it. My daughter paid off a Kmart employee’s layaway who was also a single mom nad had 3 kids to support. She was known to be struggling hard also.

    Just ask. The employee’s know who need it.

  • 28472 says:

    You weren’t asking valid questions, you were making sarcastic statements.

    It’s Christmas – cheer up.

    Take that barbwire off your chimney & throw those ex-lax cookies away
    where Santa can come see you.Hopefully he will bring you a dictionary and a bottle of cheap wine.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    …set SOOOOO upset when a valid and basic question is asked.

    You go ahead and just give money away without knowing who you’re giving it to and their true need. Fulfill P.T. Barnum’s philosophy.

  • Guestwhat says:

    Kris Kringle…… with K’s. No way in he!! I would ever pay off someones layaway. Gifts are luxury items. If you have to do this to feel good then you really need to get a life.

  • Guest22 says:

    What an effffinnng Scrooge! I hope you never recieve any charity ever, even on your death bed hopefully no one will even give a flying flip to pray for you!

  • Santa says:

    I cannot believe how you can even post this! I guess everyone has an opinion. They are not luxury items, It’s a childhood memory when Santa comes and leaves presents for all the good little boys and girls. Have faith!

  • GuestUsed2B99x says:

    Guestwhat, congratulations! You are a very fortunate person. If someone stole your identity and found out what you were really like they’d return it in seconds.

    What are you having for Christmas dinner? Lemons and prunes??

  • taxpayer says:

    there are more of us than there are of you.

  • Guest20 says:

    It’s not about feeling good. It’s about helping a fellow human being who’s struggling to give their kids a nice Christmas. Maybe some of these folks are single parent families, or maybe one of the parents got laid off, or maybe it’s just because of the economy with everything going up except salaries. Whatever the reason, it’s for the kids.

    Secret Santas help me to remember that there are still some good people who really care about others….and then I read YOUR post. Oh well, it was nice to fantasize, if only for a moment.

  • Guestwhshxjixicjcncoelkxk says:

    Luxury….. Are u kidden me XMASs is about the kidds u loooser… U prbly been fed with a golden spooon your whole life ….and had everything handed to u …loooooser … And if u ask me not to much luxury coming out of k mart… looooser ..and if I could I whould give u a slap.. and u prbly where alittle brat when u where a kid…. And one more time u are a LOOSEERRRrrrr……..marry xmass to all of u that thinks this secret Santa is a good person. Good job S….S…..

  • GuestHelp says:

    No offense, Common, but if you give to an organization instead of the layaway you mentioned, how do you know your money is going to actually filter down to the person you intended it for either? Maybe it went to “administrative costs” or “supplies”. There have been scandals in the past about executives lining their pockets with donations intended for emergency disaster victims.

    Look, if I give to an organization or to K-Mart or whoever, once it leaves my hands, I have no idea that it went to the person intended, or if the intended person spent it on something frivilous other than what I intended it for. The best I can hope for is to donate the money, and hope that it was given to the right people for the right things. We give in good faith, and that’s about all we can do.

  • Santa says:

    It made them feel good by doing it – whats the problem ?
    Why don’t you butt out . I’m sure you want like the weather Christmas
    Day either and complain about that.

  • yoursad says:

    The millionaire shopping at K Mart probably paid for his purchase in full and could probably figure out a way to keep it from “prying eyes”without having to leave it at store.

    So what if it was the clerks sister or cousin, if they left childs gift at the store only partly paid for they must be having tough times, glad to see them get help too. So why all the negativity.

    Maybe someone will figure a way to help you and your bad attitude out for Christmas. I doubt it.

    For what its worth – Merry Christmas.

    PS – I probably mispelled some words – waiting on your corrections.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    I agree that showing charity to the truly deserving is wonderful, but how do you know that the layaway you’re paying off isn’t for a millionaire who simply doesn’t want the presents in the house until Christmas Eve? Lots of parents do that, to keep them away from prying eyes.

    Also, how do you know that the clerk didn’t pull her sister’s layaway, regardless of need? (Or one of her cousins, because we all know half this town has four-hundred “cuz’s.”)

    I’ll just keep giving my money to organizations that screen for need or people that I know personally and who can use the help.

  • GuestAmazed says:

    What an amazing thing to do for someone you don’t even know! I wish there were more people like this.

  • newguest says:

    Kris Kringle is always spelled with K’s. Look it up!!! People who pay off the lay aways do have a life. They just want to share with others. I think this is a wonderful story.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Dood, You need to learn to spell.

  • GuestHaHa says:

    Being on drugs while you post is not necessarily a roaring endorsement.

  • GuestK says:

    This year, it has been a wonderful and uplifting thing to see this phenomenon as these Secret Santas have been touching people with kindness. These acts of kindness have simply been driven out of caring and love and giving from one human being to a complete stranger. Those of you out there with your Bah Humbug attitude couldn’t appreciate a kind gesture if it ran you over.

    But I will tell you this. K-Mart will have the biggest layaway sales next year ever…everyone trying to hope to “cash in” on some Secret Santa’s generosity. If I was these santas, I would find a whole new avenue for my giving next year, because they will then most likely be paying for computers and TVs and big ticket items that ARE luxuries.

    Thank you to these Santas, for bringing back a tender seed of humanity into the hearts of so many.

  • Guest-K.LP says:

    I am a Loss Prevention Manager in a Kmart store. We had several secret Santas come in to pay on peoples layaway. They all asked for us to make sure there were toys in the Layaway contracts they selected. We are more than happy to verify that for them. All the layaways that were selected contained toys and children clothing only. There were no luxury items. I am sure that any potential secret Santas out there can make similar requests. We will be more than happy to help with that.

  • People With a 60+ IQ says:

    Considering that every article about this prominently mentions K-Mart… You realize that this is just a publicity stunt to make people feel warm and fuzzy about the chain, right?

  • Guest3 says:

    This article specifically mentions K-Mart, but I also heard on the news that the same thing is happening at Wal-Marts across the country too.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    ..such as Charity Watch and Charity Navigator that rate charities based upon how much of the money goes directly to aid and how much is consumed in overhead. Some very well-known and popular charities are incredibly inefficient.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    …are real butt-kickers, huh?

  • GuestK says:

    Thank you for your response Guest-K.LP! That was a great response, and I thank you for the enlightenment!

    Human kindness runneth over. I’m loving the stories of local people with means helping those without!

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