Many Kmart customers in Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, and Montana have been receiving surprise calls lately from their local Kmart store telling them that their layaway account had been paid off.  The secret Santas have been paying off the layaway accounts of impoverished families who are paying off toys and clothes for their young children.  Many of the anonymous donors will either surprise the customers in line and pay off their account there, or pay off all but a few cents so the account stays in the system until the customer can pick up the product.

Salima Yala, Kmart's division vice president for layaway, said that Kmart has not done anything to instigate these generosities or spread the word.  Yala believes Kmart has been the focus of many people's act of kindness as it one of the only chain stores to allow layaway year-round. 

On man in Missoula, Montana spent $1,200 to pay off the layaway accounts of 6 customers who were about to lose their orders due to late payments.  Store manager Josine Murrin said that one of her employees was able to reach one of the customers whose account was paid off at Seattle Children's Hospital where her son was being treated.  Murrin said the customer couldn't have been happier,

"She was yelling at the nurses, 'We're going to have Christmas after all!'"

The most touching story was about a woman in Indianapolis who went on a spending spree in honor of her late husband.  The unidentified 40ish-year-old woman went into her local Kmart Tuesday night and when to the layaway counter where a young father was standing there with his three children.  The father asked to pay a little on his bill, but knew he wouldn't be able to pay it off before Christmas.  The woman then stepped up and told the cashier she would pay off his bill.  After being assured that she wasn't joking, the father of three burst into tears.  Before leaving the store, the woman paid off nearly 50 layaway accounts, handed out $50 bills, and paid for two carts of toys for a woman waiting in line at the registers.  When asked why she was doing it, the woman said she was doing it in honor of her husband who had recently passed away.  She knew she wouldn't spend the money on herself and wanted to help make others happy.  She declined to give her name, but told people to "remember Ben". 

via Yahoo News