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As the temperature drops, our hearts are warmed up by tales of secret santas roaming the checkout lanes of Kmart and Walmarts.
Anonymous donors have reportedly been paying off layaway accounts in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Montana and Nebraska. The phenomenon started in Michigan and the recipients tend to be accounts containing toys or clothes for small children – some, accounts that were on the verge of defaulting. "You know, 50 bucks may not sound like a lot, but I tell you what, at the right time, it may as well be a million dollars for some people," Karl Graff, Omaha Kmart’s assistant manager, told the Associated Press.
One donor helped five families in Omaha because she remembered the hardships her own mother went through to pay off layaway orders when she was a child. Another donor paid layaway balances for 50 people (on top of two carts of toys for one woman in line) and handed out $50 bills – all in honor of her recently-deceased husband, Ben.
Kmart division vice president for layaway Salima Yala says they did not instigate the good doing. She suggested that maybe Kmart was a good place for the good samirtans to exercise their generosity because it has a year-long layaway program -- one in which some people have trouble completing. "It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year," she told the Associated Press.