Santa has had some help in spreading good cheer this holiday season in the form of some helpers with deep pockets and big hearts.
Several separate Walmart locations in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio reported that anonymous donors had paid off hundreds of thousands in layaway purchases at their stores, making the holiday season a little brighter for some families in need.
According to ABC News, the total amount of the donations came to over $500,000, with donors delivering checks and paying off storewide layaway balances on behalf of needy families. Store management and customers impacted by the good deeds were equally thrilled and in shock.
Beverly Vargo, a Walmart store manager in Lorain, Ohio, told the outlet that the donor paid off a $28,000 balance at the store, adding it has been a “positive” and “exciting” experience for employees and customers. “[The customers] feel very blessed that someone has come in and done this,” Vargo said. “Most of them have multiple children, so it’s giving them money to take care of other things."
Stores in Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, received a donation of $158,000 from a local businessman who calls himself Santa B, Walmart told ABC News. It appears this is not Santa B’s first time helping families during the holiday season; Santa B also donated $50,000 to Walmart last year.
“He said he wanted everyone to have a Merry Christmas, and he said it’s his way of giving back to the community and neighbors,” Mechanicsburg store manager Steven Myers told ABC News.
And in Florida, another secret Santa brought joy to customers in Chiefland and Lake City — with a $200,000 combined donation, Walmart said. That brings the total donations of layaway orders being paid off, between the three states, to more than $484,000.
"Christmas is a time of year when many people go above and beyond to give back to their neighbors and communities,” Walmart spokesperson Wyatt Jefferies said in a statement. “When customers anonymously pay off others’ layaway items, we’re reminded of the amazing things people will do to support each other. We’re proud to be a small part of these random acts of kindness."